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DIOSCORIDES 



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required for any excerpts or copies made 
from the text. 

The illustrations are deemed in good faith to 
be in the public domain. 

© Tess Anne Osbaldeston 
First published in 2000 

ISBN 0-620-23435-0 

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Bursera gummifera 

after FAGUET — 1888 [opposite] 


DIOSCORIDES 

de MATERIA MEDICA 



BEING AN 


HERBAL 


WITH MANY OTHER 


MEDICINAL MATERIALS 

WRITTEN IN GREEK IN THE FIRST CENTURY OF THE COMMON ERA 


A NEW INDEXED VERSION IN MODERN ENGLISH BY TA OSBALDESTON AND RPA WOOD 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


CONTENTS 


EDITORIAL PREFACE — vii 
ORIGINAL DEDICATION — viii 
BIBLIOGRAPHY — xiii 
INTRODUCTION — xx 
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS — xl 
THE BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATIONS — xlii 
PRINTED BOOKS — il 

GAZETTEER OF DIOSCORIDES' WORLD — lxviii 
BOOK ONE: AROMATICS — 1 
OILS — 34 
OINTMENTS —48 
GUMS from TREES — 78 
FRUIT from TREES — 149 
FRUIT TREES — 153 
BOOK TWO — 183 
LIVING CREATURES — 184 
FATS —212 

FRUMENTACEA: CEREALS — 229 
LACHANA: VEGETABLES — 243 
HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY — 304 
BOOK THREE: ROOTS — 363 
ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS — 377 
BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS — 541 
BOOK FIVE: VINES & WINES — 741 
WINES — 747 
OTHER WINES — 759 
METALLIC STONES — 781 

INDEXES 

ALTERNATE NAMES — 832 
ILLUSTRATIONS — 847 
LATINISED GREEK NAMES — 851 
MEDICINAL USES etc. — 860 
PLANT MATERIALS etc. — 885 
POISONOUS MATERIALS — 926 


V 



for Laura 




THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


EDITORIAL PREFACE 


P edanius Dioscorides the Greek wrote this DeM aterid 
M edica approximately two thousand years ago. In 
1655 John Goodyer made an English translation from a 
manuscript copy, and in 1933 Robert T Gunther edited 
this, Hafner Publishing Co, London & New York, 
printing it. This was probably not corrected against the 
Greek, and this version of Goodyer's Dioscorides makes 
no such attempt either. 

The purpose of this new edition is to offer a more 
accessible text to today's readers, as the 'english-ed' copy 
by Goodyer is generously endowed with post-medieval 
terminology and is presently out of print. The reader may 
wish to refer to Greek, Latin, or other versions — 
including these lies beyond the scope of the present 
effort. I have not attempted to make the text uniform, and 
though I have included some sixteenth-century and 
Linnaean names, many do not indicate current usage. 
While it is not my intention to contribute to the 
controversy surrounding the true identities of the plants, 
minerals, and creatures in De Materia M edica, where 
available I have suggested possible plant names, with an 
indication of other plants using the same name today. I 
will appreciate any pertinent information that has been 
overlooked, and wish to acknowledge the errors that 
remain. Thus the proposed herbs provide some 
possibilities, and the reader is invited to place a personal 
interpretation upon the material. The illustrations 
suggest further options in some instances. 

Dioscorides' treatise is not offered as a primary 
resource for medical treatment. Readers should in the 
first instance obtain medical advice from qualified, 
registered health professionals. Many treatments 
considered acceptable two thousand years ago are 
useless or harmful. This particularly applies to the 
abortifacients mentioned in the manuscript, most of 
which contain toxins considered dangerous in the 
required doses. With all this in mind, I believe the 
information in this document is still of interest and 
benefit to us, after all this time. 



Burseragummifera 
after FAGUET— 1888 


vii 


T ess A nneO sbaldeston 

Johannesburg, South Africa, June 2000 


ORIGINAL DEDICATION 



Cupressus sempervirens 
after FAGUET— 1888 


ORIGINAL DEDICATION 


Dearest Areius, 

Although many of the writers nowadays, as well as 
those in ancient times, wrote discourses on the 
preparations, strengths and dosage of drugs, I will 
attempt to prove to you that I did not choose to 
undertake this through vanity or impulsiveness. Some of 
those authors did not complete their attempts, while 
others copied previous historical documents. Iolas from 
Bithynia and Hexa elides from Tarentum briefly 
considered the subject but they completely omitted any 
systematic discussion of herbs and ignored metals and 
spices. Crateuas the rhizotomist and Andreas the 
physician seem to have had greater knowledge of this 
particular area than most, but have ignored many 
extremely useful roots and gave meagre descriptions of 
many herbs. Still I must admit that although they told us 
little, the ancients applied great effort in their work. I am 
not completely in agreement with most modern writers, 
among them Julius Bassus, Niceratus and Petronius, 
Niger and Diodotus, who are all asdepiads [poets]. In a 
way they have condescended to describe commonplace 
information familiar to all but they have explained the 
strengths of medicines and their properties briefly, not 
considering their value by personal experience, but by 
worthless discussion created needless controversy 
regarding each medicine, and in addition they have 
mistakenly recorded one thing for another. So Niger, 
who it seems is a man of importance among them, 
declares euphorbion to be the juice of a chamelaia that 
grows in Italy; androsaimon is considered the same as 
hyper icon; and aloe is a mineral found in Judea; and in the 
face of contradictory evidence he reports an abundance 
of untruths, which proves that he obtained his 
information from erroneous gossip, not from personal 
experience. Additionally they have erred in the 
categorisation of medicines: some associate those of quite 
different powers, others establish an alphabetical system 
in their discussions and thus separate types and activities 
of materials that are similar, so that they become harder 
to remember. From my youth I have had an unceasing 
inquisitiveness regarding knowledge of this subject, and 
I have travelled widely (as you know, I was a soldier), so I 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


have taken your advice and assembled all that I have 
discussed and have written it down in five books. I 
dedicate this collection to you, as a token of my grateful 
appreciation for the friendship you have shown me. You 
are always a ready friend to anyone obsessed by 
knowledge, particularly in this profession, and even 
more especially to myself. It is clear from the love that 
wonderful man Licinius Bassus has for you, that you 
express a loving benevolence that I experienced (I 
noticed when I stayed with you, the unsurpassing 
generosity that you shared). I ask that you and all who 
may read these discussions will not consider so much the 
value of my words as the effort and practical work that I 
have based the work on. With careful investigation — 
since I know many plants personally, and others from 
previous writings that are generally approved of — and 
patiently inquiring (by questioning the local inhabitants) 
about each type of plant, I will attempt a different 
classification, and also try to explain the varieties and 
uses of each one of them. Obviously we can agree that a 
systematic discourse on medicines is necessary, as this is 
the basis of the entire profession of healing and gives 
considerable aid to every discipline. So that the scope 
may fully cover methods of preparation, compounds, 
and tests on illnesses, and because information about 
each individual drug is necessary for this, I intend to 
assimilate things that are common knowledge and those 
that are somehow related so that the information will be 
exhaustive. First it is necessary to pay attention to storing 
and gathering plants, and only at the proper harvest 
time, for unless care is taken drugs can either be potent or 
become useless. Herbs should be collected on a sunny 
day, as it matters considerably if it is raining when the 
harvest is gathered. The places they grow also matter; 
specific medicinal herbs are stronger or weaker if found 
on hills and mountains; if exposed to winds; if their 
position is cool and arid — their strength can rest entirely 
on such conditions. Healing herbs located in the open or 
in bogs and dark places that do not permit the circulation 
of air are generally of poorer strength, particularly if they 
are collected at the wrong time, or are rotten and of 
inferior quality. We must remember that plants often 
mature sooner or are delayed depending on the 
peculiarities of the locale and the variability of the 
seasons, and although certain herbs by their very nature 



ORIGINAL DEDICATION 


are winter-growing and -flowering, some may flower more 
than once a year. It is essential that someone wanting to be 
an accomplished herbalist should observe the first new 
growths of the herbs as well as their mature expression and 
their eventual decline. Otherwise a person seeing only a 
new shoot will be unable to identify the same flourishing 
plant, and having seen only its full growth will not know 
the seedling. Due to varieties in the forms of leaves, the 
proportions of stems, and the appearances of flowers and 
fruits and certain other familiar features, those who have 
neglected careful examination in the right manner have 
committed serious errors. This is why certain writers have 
erred grievously in their discussions of certain herbs — 
saying that they have no stalks, fruit or flowers — 
mentioning gramen, tussilago, and quinquefolium. So the 
individual who continually examines plants growing in 
different localities will learn the most about them. 
Furthermore, it is important to note that among medicinal 
herbs only black and white hellebore keep their potency for 
a long time. Most other plants are viable for up to three 
years. Branching plants such as stoechas, chamaidrus, potion, 
abrotanum, seriphium, absinthium and hyssopum etc., must be 
harvested when they are full of seed; flowers must be 
collected while still on the plant; fruits must be allowed to 
ripen; and seeds should be starting to dry, but still on the 
plant. To express the plant liquids, use stems and leaves that 
are new. To harvest saps and resins make incisions in the 
mature stalks. To collect roots for storage or to press out 
their liquids or to remove their coverings, wait until the 
leaves start to fall off the plant. Clean roots can be stored 
right away in places that are not damp, however any soil 
adhering to the roots should be rinsed off with water. 
Blossoms and perfumed materials must be kept in dry 
limewood boxes but certain plants are adequately stored in 
paper or leaf wrappings to protect the seeds. Preparations 
that contain moisture require substantial containers from 
materials such as silver, glass or horn. Even thick ceramic 
containers are acceptable, and even wood, especially 
boxwood. Brass receptacles are ideal for eye medicines, 
liquids, and preparations including vinegar, liquid pitch or 
cedria [oil of cedar]; but fats and marrow should be stored in 
tin boxes. 

1TEAAKIOY AIOEKOPIAOY 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


BIBLIOGRAPHY 


A list of books and monographs dealing with, or related to the writings of 
Pedanios Dioscorides, including those consulted in preparing this volume 


Albertus Magnus, Albert of Bollstaedt, De vegetabilibus libri 1 //'/', 
translators Meyer, EHF and Jessen, KFW, Georgii Reimeri, Berolini 1867 
[manuscript written before 1256]. 

Anderson, Frank J. An illustrated history of the herbals, Columbia 
University Press, New York 1912. Reprint 1977, paperback 1997. 

Anderson, Frank J. Illustrated Bartsch: Herbals before 1500: commentary, 
1984. 

Arber, Agnes. Herbals, their origin and evolution, a chapter in the history of 
botany 1470-1670, Cambridge at the University Press, new edition rewritten 
and enlarged 1938. 

Baillon, Henri Ernest. H istoire des plantes, L Hachette & Cie, Paris, 
London, Leipzig, 13 vols, 1867-1895. 

Baillon, Henri Ernest. The natural history of plants, translated by MM 
Hartog, 8 vols, 1871-1888. 

Basmadjian KJ. 'L'identification des noms des plantes du codex 
Constantinopal de Dioscoride 1 , in J ournal A siatique, vol 230, 1938, pp577-621. 

Bedevian, A K. Illustrated poly glottic dictionary of plant names, 1936. 

Berendes, Julius. Die pharmacie bei den alten Kulturvolkern, in Historisch- 
kritischeStudien, 2 vols, Tausch & Grasse, Halle 1891. Facsimile edition, Olms, 
Hildesheim 1965. 

Blunt, Wilfrid with the assistance of William T Stearn. The art of botanical 
illustration, number 14, The New Naturalist, A survey of British natural history, 
Collins, London. 1971 reprint of 1950 edition. 

Blunt, Wilfrid & Raphael, Sandra. The illustrated herbal, Francis Lincoln 
and Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London 1979. 

Bologa, Valeriu L. 1 sinonimi, "dau" delle piante descritte da Dioscoride 
possono servire alia riconstruzione della lingua daca?’, Archeion archivio di 
storia della scienza, vol 12, Rome 1930, ppl66-170. 

Bonnet, Edmond. ’Essai d'identification des plantes medicinales 
mentionnees par Dioscoride, d'apres les peintures d'un manscrit de la 
Bibliotheque Nationale de Paris (Ms Grec No 2179)', Janus, 1903, Huitieme 
Annee 4-6: 1-21, vol 8, ppl69-177, 225-232, 281-285. 

Bonnet, Edmond. 'Etude sur les figures de plantes et d'animaux peintes 
dans une version arabe, manuscrit de la matiere medicinale de Dioscoride, 
conservee a la Bibliotheque Nationale de Paris', in Janus, vol 14, 1909, 
pp294-303. 

Bridson, Gavin DR & White, James J, compilers. Plant, animal & 
anatomical illustration in art & science, a bibliographical guide from the 16th 
century to the present day, St Paul's Bibliographies, Winchester in association 
with Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Omnigraphics Inc, Detroit 
1990. 

Brunfels, Otto. H erbarum vivaeei cones ad naturae imitationem summa cum 
diligentia et arteficio effigiatae, una cum effectibus earundem in gratiam veteris illius 
et jamjam renascentis herbariae medicinae, Joannem Schottum, Argentorati 
1530. 

Buberl, Paul. ’Beschreibendes verzeichnis der illuminierten 
handschriften und inkunabeln der Nationalbibliothek', in Wien, vol 4.1, 
Leipzig 1937. 

Buberl, Paul. 'Die antikengrundlagen der miniaturen des Wiener 
Dioskurideskodex', in J ahrb. Deutsch archaol. I nst., vol 51, pll4, 1936. 



xiii 


BIBLIOGRAPHY 


Buberl, P. D iebyzantinischen H andschriften. l.Der Wiener D ioskurides und 
dieWiener Genesis, Vienna 1937. 

Chambers Biographical D ictionary, Centenary edition, Edinburgh 1997. 

Church, AH. 'Brunfels and Fuchs', in The Journal of Botany, British and 
Foreign, vol 57, September 1919. 

Clarkson, Rosetta E. The golden age of herbs and herbalist s, Dover, New 
York 1940. Reprint 1972. 

Collier's Encyclopaedia with Bibliography and Index. William D 
Halsey, editorial director. Crowell-Collier Publishing Co., USA 1963. 

Crockett, Edith A. ’Matthioli's commentaries and the De Materia Medica 
of Dioskorides’, in Bulletin of theH orticultural Society of N ew York, vol 19, New 
York 1969, pp9-21. 

D' Andrea, Jeanne. Ancient Herbs, The J Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 
California 1982. 

Daubeny, Charles Giles. Essay on the trees and shrubs of the ancients, JH 
Parker, London 1865. 

Daubeny, Charles Giles. Lectures on Roman husbandry, Oxford 1857. 

Davis, Ainsworth. T henatural history of animals, Gresham, London 1907. 

Day, Florence E. 'Mesopotamian manuscripts of Dioscorides', in 
M etropolitan M useum of Art, bulletin 8, 1950, pp274-280. 

Diels, H. Diehandschriften der antiken artze, Berlin 1906. 

Desmond, Ray. Wonders of creation, natural history drawings in the British 
M useum, The British Library, London 1986. 

De Wit, HCD. 0 ntwikkeiingsgeschiedenis van de Biologie, Wageningen 
1982-1989. 

Di Toni Giovanni Battista. I placid di LucaG hini ... in torn o a pi ante descritte 
nei Commentarii al Dioscoridedi PAM attioli, Venezia 1907. 

Dont, H. 'Dioskurides Pedanios aus Anazarbos in Kilikien', in Lex Gesch 
Naturwiss, vol 1, 1970, pp836-838. 

Dowden, Anne Ophelia. This noble harvest, a chronicle of herbs, Collins, 
New York 1979. 

Dubler, Cesar E. 'Die materia medica unter den Muslimen des 
Mittelalters', in Sudhoffs Archiv fur Geschichte der M edizin und der 
N aturwissenschaften, Leipzig, vol 43, 1959, pp320-350. 

Dubler, Cesar E. 'Diyuskuridis', in T he Encyclopaedia of I slam, 5 vols, Brill, 
Leiden and Luzac, London 1978, vol 2, pp349-350. 

Dubler, Cesar E. La M ateria medica de Dioscorides: Transmision medieval y 
renacentista, 6 vols, Tipografia Emporium, Barcelona 1953-1959. 

Emboden, William A. Leonardo da Vinci on plants and gardens, Christopher 
Helm, London 1987. 

Emmanuel, E. 'Etude comparative sur les plantes dessinees dans le 
Codex Constantino-politanus de Dioscoride', in SchweizerischeW ochenschrift 
fur Chemieund Pharmazie, Journal SuissedeChimieet Pharmacie, vol LXI (Jahrg 
50), 1912, pp45-50, 64-72. 

Engler, Heinrich Gustav Adolf & Prantl, Karl. Die naturlichen 
pflanzenfamilien, 32 volumes in 23, Leipzig 1887-1909; Nachtrage 1897-1914. 

Fabiani Guiseppe. La vita di Pierto Andrea M attioli, ed by L Banchi, Siena 
1872. 

Fuchs, Leonhard. D estirpium historia commentatorium tomi vivaeimagines, 
in exiguam angustioremqueformam cotractae, Basileae 1545. 

Gerarde, John. The Her ball or Generali historie of plantes, very much 
enlarged and amended by Thomas Johnson, the essence thereof distilled by 
Marcus Woodward, Studio Editions, London 1990. 

Gerstinger, H. Dioscurides. Codex Vindobonensis Med Gr I der 
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Graz 1970. 

Gilmour, J S L, editor. Thomas Johnson, botanical journeys in Kent & 
H ampstead, The Hunt Botanical Library, Pittsburgh 1972. 

Greene, Edward Lee, edited by Frank N Egerton. Landmarks of botanical 
history, 2 volumes, Stanford University Press, Stanford 1983. 


XIV 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Gunther, Robert Theodore. The herbal ofApuleis Barbarus, from the early 
twelfth-century manuscript formerly in the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds (M S Bodley 
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Hedrick, Ulysses Prentiss, editor. Sturtevant's notes on edible plants, JB 
Lyon Co, Albany 1919. 

Henrey, Blanche. British botanical and horticultural literature before 1800, 3 
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'Contribution to the botany of Athos Peninsula', in Bulletin of M iscellaneous 
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Hofman, K, Auracher, T M and Stadler, H. ’Der Longobardische 
Dioskorides des Marcellus Virgilius 1 , in R Oman ische For schun gen (Erlangen), 
vols 1, 10 and 11, 1882-1897. 

Hunt Botanical Library. Catalogue of botanical books in the collection of 
Rachel M cM asters M iller H unt, vol I, Printed Books 1477-1700, compiled by 
Jane Quinby 1958. 

Huxley, Anthony, editor-in-chief. The New Royal Horticultural Society 
D ictionary of Gardening, The Macmillan Press Limited, London 1992. 

Jackson, Benjamin Daydon. Guide to the literature of botany, Hafner 
Publishing Company, New York, 1964 facsimile of 1881 edition. 

Janson, H Frederic. Pomona’s harvest, an illustrated chronicleof antiquarian 
fruit literature, Timber Press, Portland, Oregon 1996. 

Johnson, J de M. 'A botanical papyrus with illustrations', in Archiv fur 
geschichteder naturwissenschaften und der technik, vol IV, p403, Leipzig 1912. 

Kaestner, HF. 'Pseudo-Dioscoridis de herbis femininis', in H ermes, vol 
XXXI, pp578-636, Berlin 1896. 

Karabacek J von, editor. Dioscurides. Codex Aniciae Julianae picturis 
illustratus, nunc Vindobonensis, 2 vols, Med Gr I Phototypice editus, Lugduni 
Batavorum, Leyden 1906. 

Kerner von Marilaun, Anton Joseph. Pflanzenleben, 2 vols, Leipzig 
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Kerner von Marilaun, Anton Joseph. The natural history of plants, 
translated by F W Oliver with the assistance of Marian Busk and Mary F 
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Killermann, S. 'Die in den illuminierten Dioskurides-Handschriften 
dargestellten Pflanzen', in D enkschriften der Regensburgischen botanischen 
G esellschaft, vol 24, 1955, pages 3-64. 

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M athias deLobel, Aubertin & Rolle, Marseille 1899. 

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XV 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 


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Sachs, Julius von. History of Botany 1530-1860, translated by Henry EF 
Garnsey, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1890. 


xvi 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


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Schreiber, Wilhelm Ludwig. Die krauterbucher des XV und XVI 
jahrhunderts, Drucke, Munchen 1924. 

Sibthorp, John. Flora graeca Prodromus, editor JE Smith, Taylor, London 
1806-1813. 

Sibthorp, John. Flora graeca, 10 vols, editors JE Smith & J Lindley, 
Richard Taylor, London 1806-1840. 

Sigerist, Henry E. 'Materia medica in the middle ages, a review', in 
Bulletin of the history of medicine, vol 7, 1939, pp417-423. 

Singer, Charles Joseph. 'The herbal in antiquity and its transmission to 
later ages', in Journal of FI ellenic Studies, vol 47, 1927, ppl-52 & 10 col plates. 

Singer, Charles Joseph. 'Greek biology and its relation to the rise of 
modern biology', in Studies in the history and method of science, vol 2, 2 vols. 
Clarendon Press, Oxford 1921, ppl-101. 

Singer, Charles Joseph with Henry E Sigerist. Essays on the history of 
medicine presented to Karl Sudhoff on the occasion of his 70th birthday, vol 
26, Ayer Company Publishers 1977. 

Singer, Charles Joseph. G reek biology andG reek medicine, AMS Press 1985. 

Singer, Charles Joseph with Edgar Ashworth Underwood. Science, 
medicine and history, Ayer Company Publishers 1975. 

Smit, Pieter, hi istory of the life sciences: an annotated bibliography, 
Hafner, New York 1974. Also published as Bibliography of life science, Asher, 
Amsterdam 1974. 

Sprague, Thomas Archibald. 'The herbal of Otto Brunfels', in T he journal 
oftheLinnean Society of London (Botany) vol XL VIII, 1928, pp79-124. 

Sprague, Thomas Archibald and Nelmes, E. 'The herbal of Leonhart 
Fuchs', in T he journal oftheLinnean Society of London (Botany) vol XL VIII, 1931, 
pp545-642. 

Sprague, Thomas Archibald. 'Technical terms in Ruellius' Dioscorides 1 , 
in Bulletin of M isceilaneous Information, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, No 2, 
1936, ppl45-185. 

Sprague, Thomas Archibald and Sprague, M S. ’The herbal of Valerius 
Cordus', in Thejournal oftheLinnean Society of London (Botany) vol LII, 1939, 
ppl-113. 

Sprengel, Kurt Polycarp Joachim. FI istoria res herbariae, 2 vols, Sumtibus 
Tabernae Librariae et Artium, Amsteldami 1807-1808. 

Sprengel, Kurt Polycarp Joachim. Geschichte der botanik, neu bearbeitet, 2 
vols, Brockhaus, Altenburg 1817-1818. 

Stadler, H. 'Lateinische Pflanzennamen im Dioskorides', in/\ rch. Latein. 
Lexikogr., vol 10, 1898, pages 85-115. 

Stadler, H. 'Pflanzennamen im Dioskorides', in Arch. Latein. Lexikogr. 
Vol 11, 1900, pages 105-114. 

Stadler, Hermann. Theophrast und Dioscorides, in Abhandlungen aus dem 
Gebiet der Classischen A Itertumswissenschaft, Beck, Munchen 1891, ppl76-187. 

Stafleu, Frans A. Linnaeus and theLinnaeans, IAPT, Utrecht 1971. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 


Stannard, Jerry. 'Dioscorides and Renaissance materia medica', in 
Analecta medico-historica materia medica in the XVI century (Proc. Sympos. Int. 
Acad. Hist. Med., Basel, 1964) Pergamon, Oxford 1966, ppl-21. 

Stannard, Jerry. 'PA Matthioli and some Renaissance editions of 
Dioscorides', in B ooks, Library of the University of Kansas, vol 4, 1966, ppl-5. 

Stannard, Jerry. 'The Graeco-Roman background of the Renaissance 
herbal 1 , in Organon, vol 4, 1967, ppl41-145. 

Stannard, Jerry. 'PA Mattioli: Sixteenth-century commentator on 
Dioscorides', in U niversity of Kansas Library Bibliographic Contributions, vol 1, 
1969, pp59-81. 

Stannard, Jerry. 'Byzantine botanical lexicography', in E pi Sterne, vol 5, 
1971, ppl68-187. 

Stannard, Jerry. 'Greco-Roman materia medica in medieval Germany', 
in Bulletin of the history of medicine, vol 46, Baltimore, Maryland, 1972, 
pp455-468. 

Stearn, WT. 'Codex Aniciae Julianae: the earliest illustrated herbal', in 
Graphis, vol 10 (54), 1954, pages 322-329. 

Stearn, William Thomas. 'From Theophrastus and Dioscorides to 
Sibthorp and Smith: the background and origin of the Flora Graeca', in 
Journal oftheLinnean Society Biology, vol 8, 1976, pp285-298. 

Stearn, WT. 'Sibthorp, Smith the "Flora Graeca" and the "Florae Graecae 
Prodromus"', in T axon, vol 16, 1967, pages 168-178. 

Steinschneider, Moritz. Die arabischen U bersetzungen aus dem 
Griechischen, 2 vols, Harrassowitz, Leipzig 1889-1891. Facsimile ed 
Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, Graz 1960. 

Steinschneider, Moritz. 'Die griechischen Aertze in arabischen 
Uebersetzunge, #30, Dioskorides', in Virchow's Archiv fur pathologische 
Anatomie und klinische Medizin, vol CXXIV (ser 12, vol IV), Berlin, 1891, 
pp480-483. 

Sternberg K K. Catalogus plantarum ad septem varias editiones 
commentariorum M atthioli in Dioscoridem, Pragae 1821. 

Stromberg, Reinhold. 'Griechische pflanzennamen', in Goteborgs 
H ogskolas A rsskrift U niversitatis G otoburgensis, vol 46, 1940, ppl-190. 

Sudhoff, Karl .Archiv fur geschichteder medezin, Leipzig 1917. 

Taylor, Norman. Plant Drugs that changed the World, George Allen & 
Unwin, London 1966. 

Temkin, Owsei. The double face of Janus and other essays in the history of 
medicine, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1977. 

Thomson, Margaret H. Textes grecs inedits relatifs aux pi antes, Societe 
d'Edition "Les Belles Lettres", Paris 1955. 

Trew, Christoph Jakob. The Herbal of the Count Palatine, an eighteenth- 
century herbal with over one hundred full colour illustrations by Elizabeth 
Blackwell and Georg Dionysius Ehret, translated by Lucia Woodward, 
Harrap, London 1985. 

Turner, William. Libel lus dereherbaria, 1538; and Thenamesofherbes, 1548, 
facsimiles, Ray Society, London 1965. 

Vaczy, C. 'Nomenclature dacica a plantelor la Dioscorides si 
Pseudo-Apuleius', in A eta M use/ N apocensis (Cluj.), vol 5, 1968, pp59-74; vol 6, 
1969, ppl5-29; vol 8, 1971, ppl09-133; vol 9, 1972, pp7-17. 

Vogel, Kurt. 'Byzantine Science 1 , in Hussey, Joan M, ed with Nicol, DM 
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Press, Cambridge 1967, esp. pp287-294, 457-462. 

Waechter, O. 'The 'Vienna Dioskurides' and its restoration', in Libri, vol 
13, 1963, ppl07-lll. 

Warburg, Otto. Die pflanzenweit, 3 vols, Bibliographisches Institut, 
Leipzig and Wien, 1913-22. 

Watson, Gilbert. Theriac and mithridatium, a study in therapeutics, 
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Wellmann, Max. 'Sextius Niger, eine Quellenunterschung zu 
Dioskurides', in H ermes, vol 24, 1889, pp530-69. 


xviii 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Wellmann, Max. 'Das alteste Krauterbuch der Griechen', in Festgabe fur 
Franz Susemihl zur G eschichte griechscher 1/1/ issenschaft und D ichtung, Teubner, 
Leipzig 1898, ppl-31. 

Wellmann, Max. 'Die Pflanzennamen des Dioskurides', in FI ermes, vol 
33, 1898, pp360-422. 

Wellmann, Max. 'Krateuas', in Abhandlungen der Koniglichen Gesellschaft 
derW issenschaften Gottingen, Philol FI istKlasse(neuefolge) vol 2, 1899, pp 3-32 & 
2 pis. 

Wellmann, Max. 'Dioskurides aus Anazarbos in Kilikien', in Paulys 
R eal-E ncyclopadieder classischen A Itertumsw issenschaft, vol 5, 1903, colsll31-42. 

Wessely, C. 'De herbarum nominibus graecis in Dioscoridis codice 
Constantinopolitano Vindobonensis arabicis litteris expressis', in A Ctes XIV 
Congres Internat. Oriental. Alger., section 6, 1905, ppl-18. 

Whittle, Tyler. The pi ant hunters, 3450 years of searching for green treasure, 
Heinemann, London 1970. 

Willkomm, Heinrich Moritz, leones et descriptiones plantarum novarum 
criticarum et rariorum europae austro-occi dental is praecipuehispaniae, 2 vols, AH 
Payne, Lipsiae 1852-56. 


See also the List of Printed Books based on manuscripts of Dioscorides, particularly: 


Agricola 

Alphabetum empiricum 

Amatus Lusitanus 

Anguillara 

Barbaro 

Bauhin 

Berendes 

Bock/Tragus 

Brunfels 

Cesalpino 

Contant 

Cordus, Erich 

Cordus, Valerius 

Dodoens 

Dubler 

Fabius Columna /Colonna 

Fuchs 

Gesner 

Guillandinus 

Gunther / Goodyer 

Holtzachius 

Jacquin 

Jarava 

Karabacek 

Laguna 

Lobel 

Lonitzer 

Maranta 

Marcello Virgilio 

Marogna 

Mattioli 

Pasini 

Pena & L'Obel 


1539 

1581 

1536, 1553 
1561, 1563 
1516, 1530 
1623, 1671 
1902 

1539, 1546, 1551, 1552 

1530, 1543 

1583, 1603 

1628 

1551 

1561 

1553-1619 

1953-1959 

1616 

1542, 1543, 1544 
1541, 1542, 1577 
1557, 1558 
1934, 1959 

1556 
1811 

1557 
1906 

1554, 1555 

1576, 1581, 1591, 1655 

1543 

1559 

1518, 1523, 1529 
1608 

1544, 1548, 1554, 1555, 1561, 1598 
1591, 1592 
1570, 1576, 1605 


Pierpont Morgan Bibliothecae / Codex 
Constantinopolitanus 1935 

Pona 1623 

Ruellius / de la Ruelle 1516, 

Ryff 1543, 

Serapion 1473, 

Sibthorp 1806- 

Sprengel 1829- 

Sternberg 1566, 

Textor 1534 

Zorn 1714, 

Vries 1906 

Wellman 1906- 


1526. 1529. 1545. 1549 

1544. 1549 
1479, 1531, 1552 
1813, 1806-1840 
1830 

1821 

1779, 1794 
1914 


xix 



INTRODUCTION 



INTRODUCTION 


PEDIANOS DIOSCORIDES 

THE MAN 

P edianos Dioscorides, also known as Pedanius 
Dioskourides, probably lived between 40CE and 90CE 
in the time of the Roman Emperors Nero and Vespasian. 
A Cilician Greek, he was born in Anazarbos (now 
Nazarba, near Tarsus) within the Roman Empire of the 
day, and today in Turkey. A learned physician, he 
practiced medicine as an army doctor, and saw service 
with the Roman legions in Greece, Italy, Asia Minor, and 
Provence in modern-day France. His military years 
provided opportunities for studying diseases, collecting 
and identifying medicinal plants, and discovering other 
healing materials. Dioscorides compiled his medical 
treatise at the suggestion of a fellow-physician, Areius. 
He had access to the library at Alexandria, and may have 
studied at Tarsus. He recorded many plants previously 
unknown to Greek and Roman physicians, and made an 
effort to describe not only their qualities and remedial 
effects, but also something of their botany and living 
morphology — including roots, foliage, and sometimes 
flowers. Although not as naive as many other herbal 
writers, he showed little scientific interest — 
concentrating rather on the practical uses of plants — 
and sometimes giving only brief descriptions, perhaps 
from other primary souces. In all he described some one 
thousand remedies using approximately six hundred 
plants and plant products. 

Dioscorides probably wrote his great herbal in about 
64CE (according to Pritzel 77CE). These medicinal and 
alimentary plants number about a hundred more plants 
than all those (medicinal or not) known to the great 
botanist Theophrastus, and described in his fine 
botanical work, the Enquiry into Plants, some two 
centuries before. Theophrastus of Eresos (a village on the 
Greek island of Lesbos) lived from about 372 to 286BCE. A 
pupil of Plato and close friend of Aristotle, he is the 
earliest known systematic botanical author in Europe. He 


XX 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


discussed about 500 plants (or plant products) familiar at 
that time, including almost forty plants still used in 
medicine today, and mentioned plants from all regions of 
the known world, including India, Egypt and Cyrenaica, 
possibly discovered during the military campaigns of 
Alexander the Great. Theophrastus drew on the work of 
Diokles of Karystos (about 300BCE), a fellow-student of 
Aristotle. 

Dioscorides added extensively to the range of plants 
used in medicine. He was a contemporary of the Roman, 
Pliny, whose monumental work on natural history (the 
history of the world) mentions about 1000 different 
plants. There is no evidence that they met, and Pliny may 
not have read Dioscorides' work. Gaius Plinius Secundus, 
known as Pliny the Elder, was born in Como in 23CE and 
died in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79CE. A busy 
Roman official, Pliny was also a prolific author, though 
only the thirty-seven books of his Historia Naturalis 
survived. He transcribed the knowledge of his time in 
accurate and precise detail, uncritically adding myths, 
legends, superstitions, personal observations, and 
opinions in a discursive, entertaining, encyclopaedic 
work. Pliny is less systematic and more credulous than 
Dioscorides. Pliny's remedies while no more effective are 
generally more unpleasant. 

For almost two millenia Dioscorides was regarded as 
the ultimate authority on plants and medicine. The plant 
descriptions in his Ilepi u?ir|C, laxpucri 1 or De Materia 
M edica were often adequate for identification, including 
methods of preparation, medicinal uses, and dosages. 
There is also a minor work bearing the name of 
Dioscorides, Ilepi cot?icov (|)appaKcov 2 , but this may not be 
authentic. Recognising the usefulness of his medical 
botany and phytography, his readers probably 
overestimated their worth. In truth, Theophrastus was 
the scientific botanist; Pliny produced the systematic 
encyclopaedia of knowledge; and Dioscorides was 
merely a medical botanist. However Dioscorides 


1 Singer, Charles. 'The Herbal in Antiquity', in Thejoumal of Hellenic Studies, vol XL VII, 1927, 
pl9. 

2 ibid. pl9 and note 45. 


xxi 



INTRODUCTION 


achieved overwhelming commendation and approval 
because his writings addressed the many ills of mankind 
most usefully. 


THE TEACHINGS 

Dioscorides was one of the first writers to emphasize 
observing plants in their native habitats, and at all stages 
of growth. D e M ateria M edica also instructs on collecting, 
using, and storing drugs from vegetable, animal and 
mineral sources. There are about seventy animal-product 
remedies, including two using vipers' flesh, a famous 
poison antidote. This snake meat (pickled in oil, wine, salt 
and dill) was also recommended for sharpening eyesight, 
and for nerves. A popular remedial delicacy mentions 
viper roasted with salt, honey, figs and nardostachys 
(spikenard), and made into a soup. Dioscorides' plant 
descriptions use an elementary classification, though he 
cannot be said to have used botanical taxonomy. Book 
One discusses aromatic plants; growths that provide oily, 
gummy or resinous products for use in salves and 
ointments; then the fleshy fruits, even if not aromatic. 
Book Two begins with animal products of dietetic and 
medicinal use, continuing with cereals and leguminous, 
malvaceous, cruciferous and other garden herbs. Book 
Three covers roots, juices, herbs and seeds used for food 
or medicine; and Book Four includes narcotic and 
poisonous medicinal plants. Book Five mentions vines, 
wines and metallic ores. Dioscorides does not adopt 
Theophrastus' philosophic treatment of plants, nor his 
classification using botanical characteristics. Dioscorides' 
qualitative classification (properties and uses) suits his 
medicinal purposes. Nevertheless, when necessary, he 
classifies separately; such as Sambucus where he 
distinguishes one species as a herb and the other as 
woody, almost a tree. He also recognises the familiar 
natural families of plants such as the labiate genera, the 
leguminous, the umbelliferous, the composites and the 
solanaceous plants. 

Together with Pliny's encyclopaedic writings, 
Dioscorides' De Materia M edica provides important 
documentation about drugs in the early Roman Empire, 
as well as offering interesting insights into daily life. For 
example, the Romans used green twigs of Pistacia 


XXII 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


lentiscus for brushing teeth; they made henna shampoo 
by pounding henna leaves soaked in the juice of 
soapwort; other yellow hair-dyes came from Rhamnus, 

Zizyphus and Xanthium; and black hair-dyes from gum 
arabica, oak, oak galls, Rhus, myrtle, ivy. Salvia species 
and Sambucus ebulus. They blackened eyebrows and 
eyelashes with vegetable soot from the burnt resin of 
coniferae. They used oil from wild olives to stop falling 
hair, and keep it from turning grey; and made hair tonic 
from a mixture of myrrh, ladanum, myrtle oil and wine. 

Bear grease was said to make hair grow again; and they 
used a creamy extract of fenugreek flour for cleaning 
hair. Cleansing and beautifying lotions for the 
complexion included Sicyonian oil, almond oil, mastic oil, 
oil of fenugreek, oil of bitter almonds, fats of geese and 
poultry, lizard dung, Sardinian honey, bitter vetch flour, 
lupin flour, and juice from a gourd or vegetable marrow. 

Latex from Euphorbia characias was mixed with oil for a 
depilatory. Much as we do today, cosmetics and 
medicines were prepared side by side in Roman times, 
and sold in the same shop. The ordinary name for a 
druggist's shop was seplasia ; within the shop the 
seplasiarii were ointment-makers, and the pigmentarii sold 
dyes and colours. In time the two designations became 
interchangeable. 

In his original introduction Dioscorides states that 
many physicians provided superficial accounts of the 
properties and diagnostic uses of drugs, often confusing 
one plant with another. Pliny the Elder confirms that 
physicians of his day knew little about compounding 
medications, entrusting these matters to seplasiarii, who 
frequently supplied spoiled or adulterated drugs. We 
learn from Fuchs that even in the sixteenth century 
hardly any contemporary physicians in Germany valued 
accurate knowledge of medicinal plants. This 
information did not concern them and was beneath their 
dignity — they left the study of medicinal plants to the 
superstitious, the foolish and old peasant women. 

Dioscorides also discusses adulteration, frequently 
mentioning methods of falsification or substitution, and 
means of detection. For example, root of valeriana was 
adulterated with butcher's broom, which might be 
noticed because it became hard, difficult to break, and 
lacked a pleasant smell; and frankincense was frequently 
adulterated with pine resin and gum. D e M ateria M edica 

xxiii 



INTRODUCTION 


discusses the preparation of oils and unguents at length. 
Spissamenta (astringents) were added to preserve and 
thicken oil, and make it retain desired perfumes from 
odoramenta (aromatic herbs, aromata). Various forms of 
medication included acopa, cataplasmata, malagmata, 
eclegmata and catapotia. An acopum was a soothing or 
stimulatory liniment. Cataplasmata were plasters or 
poultices. M alagmata were emollient poultices. An eclegma 
(electuary or looch) was a thick syrup to be swallowed 
slowly. Catapotia were pills coated with wax or honey. 
Dioscorides mentions man dr agora (mandrake), used as an 
anaesthetic for amputation or surgery — the patient 
became 'overborn with dead sleep ’ 3 so that the surgeon 
could painlessly ' cut or cauterise' 4 . Dioscorides used the 
Greek word anaesthesia for insensitivity, a term 
reintroduced in the nineteenth century. 

We find several amusing anecdotes about plants in D e 
M ateria M edica. The mandrake was associated with 
various myths, presumably because the thick tuberous 
roots resemble the human form. Dogs were used to 
extract this, as it allegedly screamed when pulled from 
the ground, deafening human gatherers. No doubt this 
tale intimidated casual collectors and protected the wild 
species. It contains hyoscyamine, an anaesthetic used 
until the introduction of ether in 1846. The nightshades 
( circaea and sol an um species), employed by eminent 
poisoners through the centuries, were used to treat 
numerous ailments including hayfever. Medicinal 
drinking-cups were made from the wood of Tamarix 
gallica, and liquid left standing in them was considered 
beneficial for disorders of the spleen. In the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries this practice was renewed with 
drinking-cups made from Lignum nephriticum, which 
gave a brilliant blue fluorescence to water, highly 
regarded as a specific for diseases of the kidneys. 

Painkillers have always dominated healing texts. 
Dioscorides wrote of the willow — itea, probably salix 
species — 'a decoction of them is an excellent fomentation for 
ye gout' 5 . In due course this knowledge led German 


3 TheG reek herbal ofD ioscorides, illustrated by a Byzantine A D 512. Englished by John Goodyer 
AD1655, edited and first printed AD1934. 1959 reprint edition, 4-76, p474. 

4 ibid. 4-76, p473. 

5 ibid. 1-136, p75. 


XXIV 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


scientists to aspirin. Dioscorides also mentions autumn 
crocus, another painkiller, warning of its dangers. The 
world's best-known painkiller is undoubtedly opium, 
mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus (an Egyptian medical 
book dating from about 1550BCE), as well as by 
Theophrastus. Dioscorides describes harvesting opium 
— the same method is still used today for collecting the 
coagulated juice of the poppy heads. The gummy 
exudate was called opium by the Greeks, this merely 
being a word for juice. Although a wonderful painkiller, 
opium is a dangerous narcotic. Dioscorides warned 'a 
littleofit, taken as much as a grain ofervum (probably seed of 
ervil, a vetch), is a pain-easer, and a sleep- causer, and a 
digester ... but being drank too much it hurts, making men 
lethargicall, and it kills’ 6 . 

Dioscorides describes many valuable drugs including 
aconite, aloes, bitter apple, colchicum, henbane, and 
squill. Minor drugs, diluents, flavouring agents, and 
emollients still in some modern pharmacopoeia include 
ammoniacum, anise, cardamoms, catechu, cinnamon, 
colocynth, coriander, crocus, dill, fennel, galbanum, 
gentian, hemlock, hyoscyamus, lavender, linseed, mastic, 
male fern, marjoram, marshmallow, mezereon, mustard, 
myrrh, orris (iris), oak galls, olive oil, pennyroyal, 
pepper, peppermint, poppy, psyllium, rhubarb, 
rosemary, rue, saffron, sesame, squirting cucumber 
( elaterium ), starch, stavesacre (delphinium), storax, 
stramonium, sugar, terebinth, thyme, white hellebore, 
white horehound, and couch grass — the last still used as 
a demulcent diuretic. A decoction of pomegranate root 
bark is prescribed to expel tapeworm. Other medicines 
still in use include wormwood, pine bark, juniper, ginger, 
almond oil, cherry syrup and calamine. Chinese and 
Indian physicians continue to use liquorice, also known 
to the ancient Egyptians, and mentioned in De M ateria 
M edica. 

Specifics for women include several to procure 
abortions; as well as treatments for infections of the 
urinogenital tract; and palliatives for stomach ache and 
intestinal pains. Dioscorides, no doubt familiar with the 
prevalence of skin and eyes diseases in the Near East, 


6 ibid. 4-65, p458. 


xxv 



INTRODUCTION 


included many remedies for these. Chronic malaria, 
possibly a factor in the decline of the Roman Empire, may 
justify the many medications to reduce the spleen. 
Palliatives for toothache included colocynth; the resin of 
Commiphora species; the bark of PI atari us soaked in 
vinegar; a decoction of tamarisk leaves mixed with wine; 
oak-galls; the resin of R hus ; a decoction of the leaves and 
bark of mulberry; the latex of the fig; that of Euphorbia 
characias mixed with oil; the roots of Rumex (the weed, 
dock) in vinegar; and a decoction of the roots of 
asparagus and Plantago (plantain). Sediment of olive oil 
mixed with juice from unripe grapes and cooked to the 
consistency of honey, was smeared on decayed teeth to 
loosen them. The Egyptians prepared a kind of beer 
called zythum or zythus from barley; and Dioscorides tells 
us ivory soaked in this becomes easily workable. Large 
slabs of ivory were carved by ancient artists — the secret 
of their softening method is now lost. 

A few superstitious practices are recorded in De 
M ateria M edica. Amulets and mascots were valued, such 
as A nchusa alia ( E chi um species) used as an amulet against 
snakes; and Polemonia against the bite of scorpions. The 
third joint from the ground of the stem of Verbena 
(vervain) was used for tertian fevers; and the fourth joint 
for quartian fevers. Black hellebore was dug up with 
great care lest an eagle observe the act, as this would 
cause death. Dioscorides also recounts the myth of 
Lysippe and lphianassa, daughters of the King of Argos, 
who recovered from madness, noting they were healed 
with black hellebore. 

THE WRITINGS — MANUSCRIPTS 

Ancient herbal traditions claimed plants were the 
flesh of the gods, who instructed men in their proper use. 
The earliest fragmentary herbal records are Egyptian, 
Sumerian, and Chinese — Emperor Shen Nung 
composed the Pen T'sao Ching about 2700BCE; medical 
prescriptions are listed on a 5000 year-old Sumerian 
tablet; and the earliest surviving herbal is the Papyrus 
E bers from about 1550BCE, containing material gathered 
five to twenty centuries before. The earliest herbal writers 
we can name are Greek — Theophrastus, with his 
Enquiry into Plants of 350BCE; Hippocrates; Diokles of 
Caryustus; Krateuas and his contemporary the Roman 


XXVI 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Sextius Niger (first century BCE); Nicander of Colophon 
(second century BCE); and Nicolaus of Damascenus with 
his D e PI antis of about 30BCE. Krateuas is the first noted 
instance of both author and artist. 

The earliest surviving records of illustrated Greek 
Herbals indicate DeM ateria M edica was widely read and 
reproduced during the Middle Ages in Latin, Arabic and 
Greek. For fifteen hundred years it was the standard 
authority both in botany and materia medica, assuming 
considerable significance in the development of western 
and Islamic cultures. The great paradigm for botany is 
that the history of botany before 1700 was really the 
history of pharmacy. Had printing existed then, it is 
possible Dioscorides' overwhelming influence would 
have confined later writings on the subject to glossaries 
on DeM ateria M edica. As it was, most herbalists were 
heavily indebted to him, just as he had drawn from 
authorities before him. DeM ateriaM edica may be partially 
based on the lost work of Diokles (called Hippocrates II 
by his contemporaries), which dealt with hygiene and 
prophylaxis, and gave detailed instructions for sound 
living 7 . 

The physician Galen, an influential Greek writer in 
the development of the herbal, cited Dioscorides. Galen's 
De Simplicibus, prepared around the year 180CE, dealt 
with medicine, pharmacy, and drugs, giving the name, 
locality, and uses for each plant. The Greek Oribasios 
[325-403CE] produced the popular manuscripts Synagoge 
and Euporista, drawing freely from both Dioscorides and 
Galen, and being translated into Latin. A concise 
manuscript of western Roman origin. Herbarium Apulei 
Platon id, was well-regarded in late Roman times. Its 150 
illustrations include some of Greek provenance, mainly 
from manuscripts based on DeM ateria M edica. In the 
Dark Ages these herbal manuscripts lost some influence 
to simpler herbals, the creative period of Greek science 
having passed. The earliest copies of Dioscorides' 
manuscript were not illustrated. The oldest survival is a 
fragment, the M ichigan Papyrus. 

The finest surviving comprehensive manuscript 
copy, magnificently illustrated, was made in the sixth 


7 Singer, ibid. p2. 


xxvii 



INTRODUCTION 


century in Constantinople [about 512CE] and is known as 
Codex Vindobonensis. The citizens of Honoratae, a suburb 
of Byzantium in Turkey, presented it as a birthday gift to 
their Christian patroness Patricia Juliana Anicia, 
daughter of Flavius Anicius Olybrius, Emperor of the 
West briefly in 472CE. This was in appreciation for Juliana 
Anicia having arranged the construction and decoration 
of a church dedicated to Polyeuktos, a martyr. The 
manuscript is on vellum, written in Greek uncials in the 
tradition of early sixth-century calligraphy. Alternate 
plant names in many languages were probably added to 
the manuscript from the work of Alexandrian 
lexicographer Pamphilos in the first century CE. These 
synonyms are provided in African, Andreae medici, 
Armenian, Bessicum, Boeotian, Cappadocian, Dacian, 
Dardana, Democriti, Egyptian, Ethiopian, Gaulish, 
Spanish, Istrici, Lucanica, Marsum, Osthanis, Prophetae, 
Pythagorean, Roman, Tuscan, and Zoroastrian. The 
coloured paintings of plants date from the second 
century CE. They are splendid and reveal a naturalism 
alien to Byzantine art of the time; some are remarkably 
life-like with accurate colour, but others vary in quality, 
the level of botanical observation frequently inadequate. 
Eleven items are clearly derived from the writings and 
drawings of Krateuas (Cratevas), pharmacologist and 
physician to Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus from 
120 to 63bce. Codex Vindobonensis is a large book, roughly 
thirty centimeters square, of four hundred and ninety 
one parchment sheets, with nearly four hundred 
full-page paintings of plants, and some smaller ones of 
birds. Many plants discussed are indigenous to Greece 
and the eastern Mediterranean, or cultivated as edible 
crops. The first pages of Codex Vindobonensis have smaller 
paintings, including one showing Dioscorides at work 
while Intelligence holds up a mandrake for Krateuas to 
draw. Some paintings are quite skilful, handling 
awkward details such as how the leaf-bases clasp the 
stem; fine-leaved plants such as fennel are well drawn; 
other beautiful illustrations include cyclamen, 
wormwood, delphinium, scarlet pimpernel, and 
asphodel. In this Codex an alphabetic extract of the 
original text is given. 

Nearly nine centuries pass before we next hear of the 
manuscript. In 1406 it was rebound by John 
Chortasmenos for Nathanael, a monk and physician in 

xxviii 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


the Prodromos Monastery in Constantinople. After the 
Muslim conquest in 1453 the manuscript fell to the Turks. 
A century later a Jew named Hamon, body physician to 
Suleiman the Magnificent, owned it. In 1562 Augier 
Ghislain de Busbecq, ambassador from the Emperor 
Ferdinand of Habsburg to the Sublime Porte saw and 
coveted it, and reported its existence. He wrote that he 
could not buy it because he had been asked one hundred 
ducats, a sum too large for his pocket. Seven years later 
the manuscript found its way through the good offices of 
Ferdinand's successor, Maximillian II, into the Imperial 
Fibrary in Vienna (now the Bibliothek Nationale). Codex 
Vindobonensis is probably the earliest, most splendid, and 
most important illustrated herbal manuscript of classical 
times. Before conveying it to the Imperial Fibrary, de 
Busbecq lent it to Mattioli who drew heavily on it for 
commentaries on De Materia M edica. Master printer 
Christoffel Plan tin used illustrations from Codex 
Vindobonensis for herbals published in the late sixteenth 
century for Dodoens, Clusius, Fobelius, and Fyte. 

There are many surviving manuscripts of D e M ateria 
M edica after Codex V in dobon en si s — an important example 
being the seventh-century Greek alphabetic Codex 
N eapolitanus, in the possession of a Neapolitan monastery 
for many years, and then presented to Emperor Charles 
VI in 1717. It was taken to Vienna and subsequently to the 
Bibliotheca Nazionale in Naples. The drawings in Codex 
N eapolitanus are from the same source as Codex 
Vindobonensis, but are smaller and grouped together on 
fewer pages. A good copy of the C odex V i n dobon en si s from 
the fifteenth century is in the Cambridge University 
library; there is a line of descent to a fourteenth century 
manuscript, Paris GR 2091; and a seventeenth century 
descendant at Bologna — these four forming the primary 
alphabetic group. The secondary alphabetic group 
includes eleventh- and twelfth-century manuscripts at 
Pierpoint Morgan, Mount Atlas and the Vatican (GR 284). 
Next is the non-alphabetic Greek group, the best example 
the Paris G rec 2179 in the BibliothequeN ati on ale, written in 
ninth-century Egypt, its naturalistic illustrations dating 
the draughtsmanship to the second or third century CE. 
Eater manuscripts of the same group reside at Venice (St 
M arks 273 of the eleventh century), Florence, the Vatican, 
and Vienna. 


XXIX 



INTRODUCTION 


The Ostrogoths and Lombards encouraged Latin 
translations. The ninth-century D ioscorides L ombardus in 
the M unchener Staatsbibliothek (with its direct descendant, 
a South Italian manuscript in Beneventan script. Codex 
L ongobard, M unich 337 ) has an excellent text, making it the 
most important of the Latin manuscripts. It is illustrated 
with approximately 900 lovely miniatures, more than 
twice as many as the 387 in Codex Vindobonensis. 
Herbarium Apulei ( Codex Cassinensis 97), a ninth-century 
manuscript herbal from the late Roman period (about 
400CE) preserved at the Abbey of Monte Cassino in Italy, 
is based partly on D ioscorides L ombardus. D ioscorides 
Vulgaris (Palimpsest Lat 16), a sixth-century manuscript 
now in Vienna, is the second primary Latin translation. 
Up to the seventeenth century we find many 
commentaries and inferior later manuscripts such as L iber 
D ioscuridis deherbis feminis by Sextus Placitus Papyriensis. 
D ioscorides L ombardus was one of the source documents 
(with 22 others) for the celebrated botanical poem M acer 
floridus of 1161 by Odo of Meune. He recounts the virtues 
of 77 plants in verse dedicated to Aemilius Macer, a 
contemporary and friend of Ovid. D ioscorides Vulgarisled 
to a number of further versions, one with Anglo-Saxon 
glossaries. 

Arabic/Muslim medical scholars rose to prominence 
during the fifth to twelfth centuries, with Arabic the new 
language of learning, and many Greek works translated 
into Arabic from Syriac. In the ninth century monasteries, 
such as the Benedictine at Monte Cassino and St Gallen 
on Lake Constance, became centres of herbalism in 
Europe. Arabic and monastic writings drew heavily on 
Dioscorides and Pliny. Arabic works were also translated 
into Latin, such as the twelfth-century herbal of Johannes 
Serapion the younger (Ibn Sarabiyun), translated by 
Simon Januensis and Abraham ben Shemtob, in about 
1292. Quoting extensively from Dioscorides and Galen, 
this was published as Liber Serapionis aggregatus in 
medicinis simplicibus, Milan, 1473. 

In the Dark and Middle Ages Nestorian Christians 
banished for heretical views carried the works of 
Dioscorides and others to Asia Minor. The Greek text was 
translated into Syriac when pagan Greek scholars fled 
east after Constantine's conquest of Byzantium. 
Stephanos (son of Basilios, a Christian living in Baghdad 
under the Khalif Motawakki) made an Arabic translation 


XXX 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


of DeM ateria M edica from the Greek in 854CE. In 948CE 
the Byzantine Emperor Romanus II, son and co-regent of 
Constantine Porphyrogenitos, sent a beautifully 
illustrated Greek manuscript of DeM ateria M edica to the 
Spanish Khalit, Abd-Arrahman III. Spaniards were 
unfamiliar with Greek, so in 951 CE a learned monk, 
Nicolas, arrived in Spain so that physicians in Cordoba 
might be taught Greek. Nicolas and his Arabic-speaking 
pupils then prepared a new corrected edition. The Syriac 
scholar Bar Hebraeus prepared an illustrated Syriac 
version in 1250, which was translated into Arabic. An 
Arabic translation from the eleventh century in the 
BibliothequeN ationale, Paris ( Codex arab. 4947) shows how 
faithfully the Arabs reproduced the Greek illustrations. 
Arabic modifications rendered the figures more 
symmetrical, achieving naturalistic fidelity. A Persian 
translation from the thirteenth century is preserved in 
the Shrine at Meshed, Iran; and an Arabic Dioscorides is 
in the Bodleian Library. A richly-illustrated Arabic 
Dioscorides manuscript of 1224 ( Codex 2148 ) in the Top 
Kapu Saray Museum has exquisitely detailed figurative 
scenes. A number of other illustrated Arabic manuscripts 
of De Materia M edica are known. The teachings of 
Dioscorides have been used in the practice of medicine in 
the Middle East from their first writing to the present 
day. 


THE WRITINGS — PRINTED BOOKS 

The first printed herbals appearing in the fifteenth 
century relied on ancient authors for texts. The 
accessibility and standardisation of these works 
perpetuated the influence of these venerable authors. 
Three herbal incunabulae (books printed before 1500) 
have a particularly interesting derivation. The H erbarius 
of 1484, the Gart der Gesundheit of 1485, and the Ortus 
Sanitatus of 1491, all printed in Mainz, were compiled 
from works by Matthaeus Sylvaticus, Serapio, Avicenna, 
Platearius, Dioscorides, Galen, and others. Dioscorides 
was mentioned sixteen times in the H erbarius, 242 times 
in the G art, and 570 times in the 0 rtus. The first printed 
book of Dioscorides' DeM ateria M edica is a rare and 
obscure Latin translation of the Dioscoridis Vulgaris 
printed at Colle, near Siena, Tuscany, by Johannem 
Allemanum de Medemblik in 1478. In 1499 Aldus 


XXXI 



INTRODUCTION 


Manutius printed the first Greek version in Venice. Latin 
editions were numerous, particularly the excellent 
translation by the Frenchman Jean de la Ruelle, Latin 
being the new language of scholarship. In the following 
century the most voluminous and useful books of botany 
were supplemented commentaries on Dioscorides, 
including the works of Fuchs, Anguillara, Mattioli, 
Maranta, Cesalpino, Dodoens, Fabio Colonna, and the 
Bauhins. In several the annotations and comments 
exceed the Dioscoridean text and have much new 
botany. Nonetheless it seems that a considerable part of 
all new botanical matter published in the sixteenth and 
part of the seventeenth centuries consisted largely of 
annotations on the texts of Dioscorides. 

Numerous herbals published from 1473 onwards 
were directly or indirectly based on Dioscoridean 
manuscripts. From 1478 there were many Latin editions. 
A Greek version was published at Venice in 1499, and 
reprinted in 1518, 1523 and 1529. Between 1555 and 1752 
there were at least twelve Spanish editions; and as many 
in Italian from 1542. French editions appeared from 1553; 
and German editions from 1546. Some copies of the work 
appear decadent, with a loss of faithfulness to the earlier 
text; certain later editions exhibit the freshness and 
accuracy of the Codex Vindobonensis, notably the 
illustrated volume by Mattioli in 1544. 

Pier Andrea Mattioli (1500 to 1577), a renowned 
botanist and physician, translated DeM ateria M edica into 
vernacular Italian as Di Pedacio D ioscoride Anazarbeo libri 
cinque ... , Venice 1544. An illustrated edition in Latin 
followed: Commentarii in sex libros Pedacii Dioscoridis de 
medica materia, Venice 1554. In this imposing plant 
encyclopaedia Mattioli identified Dioscorides' plants and 
added 562 woodcut illustrations. Mattioli experimented 
on prisoners to determine the lethal thresholds of various 
poisonous plants, ensuring the medical popularity of his 
books. Besides the Italian editions the work appeared in 
Latin, Bohemian, French, and German. Mattioli wrote 
other books but his commentaries on Dioscorides (said to 
run to forty editions) are considered his most important 
work, leading to his appointment to the Imperial Court as 
physician to Archduke Ferdinand I, and later to the 
Emperor Maximilian II. Mattioli, obsessed with 
Dioscorides, set out to be the supreme authority on his 
idol, tolerating neither rivals nor corrections. He wielded 

xxxii 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


immense influence throughout Europe. Any physician or 
naturalist daring to disagree with him was abused. Both 
Amatus Lusitanus and Luigi Anguillara lost their posts, 
the former being hounded by the Inquisition. Konrad 
Gesner, Marant and Wieland were rebuked. Over the 
years Mattioli's commentaries overwhelmed De M ateria 
M edica — for example on acorus ( Iris pseudacorus ) 
Dioscorides wrote seven lines, and Mattioli 140 lines. 
Forty years later a physician at Nuremberg, Johann 
Camerarius II (1534 to 1598), re-edited and enlarged 
Mattioli's work as De p/antis epitome ..., Frankfurt 1586, 
replacing the illustrations with superior woodcuts. 

In the time of Queen Elizabeth I the pharmacopoeia 
rested on the unquestioned authority of the ancient 
physician Dioscorides. Even in the middle of the 
seventeenth century, John Goodyer (1592 to 1644) 
thought it worthwhile to make the first English 
translation of the whole work. This translation, written 
out in Goodyer's small and careful handwriting, filled 
four and a half thousand pages, taking three years to 
complete. John Sibthorp (1758 to 1796) used Goodyer's 
English Codex for his Flora Graeca (1806-1840) 8 ; and 
Gunther's edition of Goodyer's translation was printed 
in 1934 9 , and reprinted in 1959. This is the only English 
edition, apart from the present version in contemporary 
English by Tess Anne Osbaldeston. In the late eighteenth 
century John Sibthorp came to Vienna with John 
Hawkins to study the Codex Vindobonensis. He met the 
talented Austrian artist Ferdinand Bauer through the von 
Jacquins, and together they made a Grand Tour of the 
Levant — including Crete, through the Aegean to 
Smyrna (Izmur), Constantinople, inland to Belgrade, as 
well as Cyprus and Greece — to find Dioscorides' 
medicinal plants. Their efforts resulted in the magnificent 
Flora Graeca, uncompleted for fifty two years, and then 
only with the help of Sir John Edward Smith, Robert 


8 Sibthorp, John and Smith, James E . Florae graecaeProdromus: sive plantarum omnium 
enumeratio, quas in provinces aut insulis Graeciae invenit Johannes Sibthorp ... 
Characteres et synonyma omnium cum annotationibus elaboravit Jacobus Edvardus 
Smith. Also Flora graeca: sive plantarum rariorum historia, quas in provinciis aut insulis Graeciae 
legit, investigavit et depingi curavit Johannes Sibthorp. Fliciliicetiam i n sertae supaucu I ae species, 
quas vir idem clarissimus, Graeciam verso navigans, in itinerepraesertim apud Italiam et Siciliam, 
it venerit. [10 volumes], London, 1806-1840. 

9 TheG reek herbal ofD ioscorides, illustrated by a Byzantine A D 512. Englished by John Goodyer 
AD1655. John Goodyer, RT Gunther editors, Oxford, 1934. 



INTRODUCTION 


Brown, John Lindley and the Sowerbys. Thus eighteen 
hundred years after compiling De M ateria M edica, 
Dioscorides' medical work led to the publication of one of 
England's most sumptuous works on botany, 'perhaps one 
of the most magnificent floras ever produced’, according to 
Martyn Rix in The Art of the Plant World 10 . A fairly 
comprehensive list of printed versions of De M ateria 
M edica is given elsewhere in this volume, together with 
works based on, or derived from it. 

THE ASSESSMENTS 

Julius von Sachs virtually ignored Dioscorides' 
contribution to botany in his authoritative History of 
Botany 1530-1860. In the wide-ranging Guide to the 
Literature of Botany Benjamin Daydon Jackson accuses 
Dioscorides of causing endless discussion and confusion 
among his followers, contending his meagre plant 
descriptions cannot be dignified by that term — ‘his 
various treatises formed the staple of the discourses and 
wranglings of the early botanists oftheR enaissancef 11 until the 
appearance of Sibthorp's Flora of Greece. This 'contention 
was probably caused by the extreme meagreness of the original 
descriptions ... so that the fancy of each succeeding writer had 
abundant scope in endeavouring to fit, and to persuade others 
that he had fitted, plants of Northern Europe to accounts 
written in the M editerranean region’ 12 . Jackson does not 
mention Dioscorides' profound historical influence. 

For fifteen hundred years De M ateria M edica was 
widely read and reproduced as copies, translations, 
excerpts, and paraphrases in Arabic, Greek and Latin. 
Claus Nissen in Herbals of five centuries, L'Art Ancien, 
Zurich 1958 is more generous: 'It owes its universal 
acceptance to the exemplary accuracy and scientific 
scrupulousness with which all available data concerning the 
appearance and occurrence of drugs, their preparation, 
preservation, indication, and dosage have been collected and 
discussed, as well as to its comprehensiveness which takes 
account of all remedies, from the three kingdoms of nature, that 


10 Rix, Martyn. The art of the plant world, The Overlook Press, Woodstock, New York 1981. 
p97. 

11 jackson, Benjamin Daydon. Guide to the literature of botany, Hafner Publishing Company, 
New York, 1964 facsimile of 1881 edition.pxxvii. 

12 ibid, pxxviii. 


xxxiv 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


were then known thoughout the M editerranean region' 13 . 
Furthermore he says, 'There is no doubt that, besides 
chemistry, pharmacognosy and, especially, pharmacobotanics 
constitute a glorious chapter in the history of Islamic learning, 
for the ancient legacy in this field was not only preserved but 
independently augmented and developed. It was particularly 
D ioskorides’ M ateria M edica which enjoyed such high esteem 
that it was likened to the Koran in a manner almost 
blasphemous to M u slim eyes' 14 . It was the final authority on 
pharmacy in Turkey and Spain until the nineteenth 
century. 

In the first half of the twelfth century Matthaeus 
Platearius of the medical school at Salerno wrote Circa 
Instans, an alphabetic listing and textbook of simples 
based on D ioscorides Vulgaris, containing the appearance, 
manufacture, and applications of drugs. It achieved wide 
recognition, being among the first herbals printed in 
1488. Ernst Meyer 15 placed it on a par with Pliny and 
Dioscorides, while George Sarton 16 saw it as a great 
improvement over De M ateria M edica and other herbal 
writings. 

De Materia M edica impeded botanical thought, 
although not for its contents — doctrinaire usage stifled 
continuing investigation. Dioscorides cannot be 
considered an original thinker, nor did he engage in 
primary research. His work is a compendium of known 
medicinal plants of the Roman Empire, with some new 
introductions, and certain misidentifications. Many of his 
plant names are still in use, although not necessarily for 
the same plants, as we show in this new volume. His 
descriptions were sometimes brief, often accurate, 
including distribution and other information. We may 
regard him as a founder of botanical science. Thomas 
Johnson, an outstanding figure among British 
herbalist/botanists of the sixteenth century, friend and 
close collaborator of John Goodyer, considered De 
M ateria M edica the foundation and basis of all that 
followed in the field. The Rinascimento, or Rennaissance, 


13 Nissen, Claus. H erbals offivecenturies, L Art Ancien, Zurich, Robert Wolfe, Munich and 
Weiss-Hesse, Olten, 1958. plO. 

14 ibid. pl8-19. 

15 Anderson, Frank J .An illustrated history of the herbals, Columbia University Press, New 
York 1912. Reprint 1977, paperback 1997. p49. 

16 ibid. 


xxxv 



INTRODUCTION 


revived interest in knowledge and learning, first in Italy 
in the mid-fifteenth century, spreading northwards some 
five decades later. Many botanists and herbalists of the 
sixteenth century based their texts on those of the ancient 
Greeks, often referring to Pedanios Dioscorides. 

His medicinal plants formed the basis of modern 
botany, establishing the link between botany and 
medicine, and giving rise to the herbal as we know it; to 
physic gardens; to the careers of men such as Linnaeus; 
and latterly, to ethnobotany. It was the medieval 
physician's duty to fear God and know his Dioscorides, 
and modern pharmacology stems from his attempts to 
systematize medicinal knowledge. We even owe the 
term 'botany' to Dioscorides, who used the Greek term 
botane, meaning herb. The most influential English 
herbal, Gerard's TheHerball or general I historie of pi antes, 
frequently mentions Dioscorides, and the introduction 
To the ... Readers' states ‘From whence there spring floures 
not onely to adorne the garlands of the M uses, ... butalsosuch 
fruit as learned Dioscorides long travelled for' 17 . The 
illustrated title page of the H er ball's second edition in 1633 
shows Dioscorides and Theophrastus as the pillars of 
healing knowledge. This iconic tradition continues on 
the title pages of Charles de L'Ecluse's Rariorum 
Plantarum Historia of 1601, and his Curae posteriores of 
1611; Rembert Dodoens' Stirpium H istoriae Pemptades Sex 
of 1616; Jean Bauhin and Jean Henri Cherlier's Historia 
Plantarum Universalis of 1650-1651; and Giorgio Dalla 
Torre's D ryandum, A madryandum CloridisqueTriumphus of 
1685; as well as the document dated 1 July 1737 in which 
the Royal College of Surgeons commended Elizabeth 
Blackwell's A curious herbal. 

Two and a half centuries before Sibthorp, Dr Johann 
von Cube, a German physician, travelled to the East to 
find the plants of Dioscorides and other masters. In 1485 
he published H ortus Sanitatus, one of the earliest printed 
herbals. Valerius Cordus (1515 to 1544) travelled through 
Italy and Germany seeking plants in their natural habitat 
that the Classical authors, particularly Dioscorides, had 
described. Cordus lectured on plants at the University of 
Wittenberg; Adnotationes ad Dioscorides was published 


17 Gerarde, John. TheH erball or G enerall historie ofplantes, London, 1597. p4. 


xxxvi 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


from student notes some years after his early death. 
Cordus' careful observations provided accurate plant 
descriptions. The scientist Luigi Anguillara (1512 to 1570) 
travelled through Italy, Greece, the Balkans, and Central 
Europe on a similar quest. A professor at the University of 
Padua, he became director of its botanic garden, the first 
in the world. Similarly, Leonhardt Rauwolf, who died in 
1596, travelled from Augsburg to the Levant 'chiefly to 
gain a clear and distinct knowledge of those delicate herbs 
described by Theophrastus, Dioscorides, Avicenna et al, by 
viewing them in their proper and native pi aces and to encourage 
the apothecaries to procure the right sorts for their shops' 18 . 
Before Gerard's time, William Turner, an influential 
English theologian and physician, published his herbals 
in 1538 and 1548, and wrote of his famous botany teacher 
Luca Ghini of Bologna, 'Lucas Gynus the reader of 
Dioscorides in bonomy, my maister' 19 . Ghini lectured on 
Dioscorides for twenty-eight years. Joseph Pitton de 
Tournefort (1656 to 1708), a Frenchman, and one of the 
earliest systematic (classification) botanists, identified 
many of Dioscorides' plants during travels in Asia Minor. 

Frans A Stafleu 20 commented that Carl Linnaeus, 'the 
Prince of botanists' 21 , was the object of an hero-worship 
previously unknown in botany, with the possible 
exception of Dioscorides. In Linnaeus' concise history of 
botany. Bibliotheca botanica 22 , he names Theophrastus, 
Pliny and Dioscorides among outstanding phytologists 
of all ages, with no others until the fifteenth century. The 
famous Dutch botanist Johannes Burman (1707 to 1779) 
was internationally so highly regarded he received the 
cognomen D ioscorides III from the L eopoldina, the German 
academy of sciences. In 1703 Charles Plumier dedicated 
the edible yam genus with its six hundred species to 
Dioscorides, naming it dioscorea. A fitting tribute, since a 
number of dioscorea species yield diosgenin, a precursor 
of progesterone, valuable for modern drugs such as oral 
contraceptives and cortisone. 

Sir Arthur Hill, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens 
at Kew, described a visit to Mount Athos in 1934: 'The 

18 Coats, Alice M. TheQuest for Plants, London, 1969. pl3. 

19 Britten, J., Jackson, BD., Stearn, WT. 1/1 / illiam T urner, The Ray Society, 1965. p7. 

20 Stafleu, Frans A. Linnaeus and theLInnaeans, Utrecht 1971. p3. 

21 van Royen, Adriaan. Florae L eydensis Prodromus, 1740. Preface pl6. 

22 Stafleu, Frans A. ibid. p35. 


xxxvii 



INTRODUCTION 


official botanist monk ... was a remarkable old man with an 
extensive knowledge of plants and their properties ... he 
travelled very quickly, usually on foot, and sometimes on a 
mule, carrying his flora with him in a large black bulky bag ... 
his flora was nothing less than four manuscript volumes of 
Dioscorides, which apparently he himself had copied out. This 
flora he invariably used for determining any plant which he 
could not name at sight, and he could find his way in his books 
— and identify his plants to his own satisfaction — with 
remarkable rapidity' 23 . This indicates the powerful 
influence of De Materia M edica up to the twentieth 
century. 

The great American botanical historian Edward Lee 
Greene in Landmarks of Botanical History offers a fitting 
tribute to Dioscorides: 7 fto havewritten the most practically 
serviceable book of botany that the world of learning knew of 
during sixteen centuries were the best title to botanical 
greatness, to Dioscorides would readily becon ceded theabsolute 
supremacy over all other botanists, not only of antiquity but of 
all f/me' 24 . 

In Historia rei herbariae, 1807-1808, volume 1, Kurt 
Polycarp Joachim Sprengel wrote: ' During more than 
sixteen centuries, he was looked up to as the sole authority, so 
that everything botanical began with him. Everyone who 
undertook the study of botany or the identification of medicines 
swore by his words. Even as late as the beginning of the 
seventeenth century both the academic and the private study of 
botany may almost be said to have begun and ended with the 
text ofD ioscorides' 25 . 

History remains the arbiter of the duration and value 
of Dioscorides’ work. 


23 Hill, Arthur William. Preface by Sir Arthur Hill to: Turrill, WB, 'Contribution to the botany 
of Athos Peninsula', in Bulletin ofM isce/laneous Information, Kew, ppl97-8, 1937. 

24 Greene, Edward Lee, edited by Frank N Egerton. L andmarks of botanical history, 2 volumes, 
Stanford University Press, Stanford 1983. pp218-219. 

25 Sprengel, Kurt Polycarp Joachim. H istoria rei herbariae, 2 vols, Sumtibus Tabernae Librariae 
et Artium, Amsteldami 1807-1808. ppl49-151. 



INTRODUCTION 



XXXIX 


INTRODUCTION 



xl 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 


Our sincere appreciation is accorded firstly to the 
scholars who shared a fascination with Dioscorides 
through the centuries. We were able to access many of 
these works but many others, beyond our reach, are 
mentioned in the Bibliography for their interest to other 
'seekers'. Of special value to our explorations, we make 
note of the following: 

AK Bedevian, Illustrated polyglottic dictionary of plant 
names. 

DJ Mabberley, The plant book. 

Thomas Sprague, journal articles on the herbals of 
Brunfels and Fuchs, and on Ruellius' translation of 
Dioscorides. 

Wilfred Blunt and Sandra Raphael, T he A rt of Botanical 
Illustration. 

Wilfred Blunt, The Illustrated H erbal. 

Henri Baillon, H istoire des pi antes. 

Loudon, John Claudius. Encyclopaedia of plants. 

Georg Pritzel, Thesaurus literaturae botanicae. 

Klaus Nissen, Die botanische buchi /lustration, and 
H erbal s of five centuries. 

Charles Singer, The herbal in antiquity. 



L actuca virosa [seed head] 
after FAGUET — 1880 


We would also like to express our appreciation to the 
staff at the Herbarium Library of the Department of 
Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of 
the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 
especially to Renee Reddy and Donald McCallum, as 
well as to the staff at the Johannesburg Public Library, 
especially Lolly Brower. 

And thank you to Ian Murdoch, Copyright Attorney. 


T ess Anne 0 sbaldeston and R obert P 1/1/ ood 
Johannesburg, 2000. 


xli 


THE BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATIONS 



A cacia catechu 
after THIEBAULT — 1872 


THE BOTANICAL 
ILLUSTRATIONS 


T his version of Dioscorides is richly illustrated with 
pictures of plants and natural history objects, 
primarily woodcuts from the 16th and 19th centuries, 
and copper engravings or lithographs from the 19th 
century. We know very little of the artists who made the 
illustrations reproduced here. For example, in Engler's 
voluminous writings most paintings by Joseph Pohl are 
unsigned, thus preventing accurate attribution. Some 
information about the artists represented herein, with 
the context in which they worked, is given below. 


MATERIALS & METHODS 

Multiple images for early printed books were 
woodcuts, a relief process, usually a black line drawing of 
the original picture on a wood block, the unwanted 
background between the drawn lines was cut away with 
a sharp knife to prevent contact with the ink roller. The 
design is in relief, the printer's ink is deposited on the 
raised surface, and transferred by pressure onto paper. 
The image is drawn in reverse as with most forms of 
printing. In wood engraving, a refinement of the 
woodcut, the engraver uses a burin, a fine steel cutting 
tool, obtaining a multitude of fine lines to give subtle 
gradations simulating grey tones. The crafter usually cuts 
on the end grain of hard woods to permit a 
predominance of white lines. Lithography is a 
planographic or surface process utilising drawing upon 
stone. The drawing is made with greasy ink or chalk on a 
particular kind of limestone, porous to both grease and 
water. Once the drawing is 'fixed', the stone is damped 
with water and an ink roller passed over it. This 'inks' the 
stone wherever the drawing has been made and leaves 
no mark on the rest of the stone. Paper is now passed 
over the stone through a scraper press. Lithography 
permits subtle gradations of tone, speedily and 
economically. Other printing techniques traditionally 
used for botanical illustrations include intaglio printing 


xlii 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


— such as copper engraving, mezzotint, stipple 
engraving, aquatint, and soft ground etching — full or 
partial colour printing, chromolithography, and a variety 
of technique modifications. Modern printing methods 
using photographic, electronic, and digital processes 
offer further possibilities. 

THE ILLUSTRATORS 

Botanical illustrators originally documented plants 
for medicinal purposes. These early scientific drawings of 
plants assisted the searcher after simples ie. species of 
herbs. Illustrations in the magnificent sixth-century 
manuscript herbal Codex Vindobonensis 26 exhibit a 
standard of excellence unusual in its day, and not 
exceeded for nearly a millenium. During this 'dreary' 
millenium most manuscripts were not illustrated, or 
included pen drawings copied repeatedly by scribes with 
no artistic skills. Early printed herbals copied these 
indifferent plant outlines. 

Realistic plant drawings appeared towards the end of 
the fourteenth century, Albrecht Durer and Leonardo da 
Vinci being the best-known artists. H erbarius zu Teutsch 
(the German Herbarius) 1485 was the first printed herbal 
with plant drawings showing greater freedom and 
realism. Next in significance is Otto Brunfels' Herbarum 
vivae ei cones (living portraits of plants), 3 volumes 
1530-1536, with illustrations by Hans Weiditz (1488 to 
1534) a pupil of Albrecht Durer — the drawings 
transferred to woodcuts by excellent engravers. Brunfels 
paid tribute to the artist at the beginning of the first 
volume, but dismissed the illustrations as dead lines 
inferior to his own truthful text descriptions. Weiditz 
drew actual plants with scientific correctness, including 
blemishes and deformities in great detail. The figures 
seem drawn in pen, with fine, deep strokes. According to 
Wilfred Blunt 'His work must ever remain the high-water 
mark of woodcutting employed in the service of botanical 
illustration' 27 . Lrom 1522 Strassburg publishers Schott, 
Knoblauch, Kopfel and Beck used professional 

26 In the Imperial Library in Vienna (now the Bibliothek N ationale). 

27 Blunt, Wilfrid with the assistance of William T Stearn. The art of botanical illustration, number 
14, TheNew Naturalist, A survey of British natural history, Collins, London. 1971 reprint of 
1950 edition. p47. 


xliii 



THE BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATIONS 


illustrators, including Weiditz, mainly for botanical and 
zoological works. Weiditz' skills were in great demand, 
illustrating numerous books including Albertus M agnus, 
W underbar naturliche wirckungen 1531, and Konrad von 
Megenberg's Puch der Natur 1536. These plates were 
pirated by Frankfurt publisher Christian Egenolph for 
herbals edited by Eucharius d J Rossllin (and later 
Theodoric Dorsten), and published as Kreutterbuch 1533 
with later editions, titles and translations. From 1562 
copies of these woodcuts appeared in the journal 
published by Egenolph, Plantarum arborum fruticum et 
herbarum effigies. Some four hundred years after they 
were drawn, about seventy original pen drawings by 
Weiditz, painted in watercolours, were discovered in the 
herbarium of Felix Platter in Berne. It was noted that the 
woodcuts' variable lines reflected the nervous energy of 
Weiditz' s artistry, and that the engraver of the 
woodblocks had taken some liberties in copying, mainly 
to fit larger drawings on to the printed page, and deleting 
details of flowers and seeds. 

Soon thereafter Leonhart Fuchs (1501 to 1566) 
published De historia stirpium 1542, a splendid folio 
volume, the illustrations of far greater value than the text. 
Unusually, credit is given to the artists — Albrecht Meyer 
who drew the plants according to Fuchs' rigorous 
instructions, Heinrich Fullmaurer who transferred the 
drawings to wood blocks, and Veit Rudolf Speckle who 
cut the wood blocks. The plates dazzle with crisp, white 
paper, fine printing and layout, and elegant designs. 
With hundreds of full-page illustrations of plants, it is the 
earliest monumental flower-book. In the preface Fuchs 
writes about the illustrations: ‘A s far as concerns the pictures 
themselves , each of which is positively delineated according to 
the features and likeness of the living plants , we have taken 
peculiar carethat they should bemost perfect, and, moreover, we 
have devoted the greatest diligence to secure that every plant 
should be depicted with its own roots, stalks, leaves, flowers, 
seeds and fruits. ... and wehavenot allowed thecraftsmen so to 
indulge their whims as to cause the drawings not to correspond 
accurately to the truth' 2 *. Speckle, 'by far the best engraver of 


28 Fuchs, Leohard. DeH istoria Stirpium 1542, preface, quoted by Gill Saunders in 'Picturing 
Plants, an analytical history of botanical illustration', Zwemmer in association with the 
Victoria and Albert Museum, 1995, London. 


xliv 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Strasbourg' 29 , had a line often rigid and wiry, suitable for 
subsequent watercolour wash. Fuchs' artists idealized 
the plants, showing flowering and fruiting stages 
simultaneously, with life-sized plants including roots 
when possible, but with less detail, achieving unmatched 
clarity of line reproduction. The plates were copied or 
adapted by many later herbal writers including John 
Gerard, Tabernaemontanus, Dodoens, Bock, Turner, 
Lyte and Schinz, to the chagrin of Fuchs who saw his fine 
work used without acknowledgement, and mostly as 
inferior copies. Many scholars consider these the finest 
botanical woodcuts, though some prefer the sharp 
figures of Weiditz. Meyer's flowers are delicate, Weiditz' 
are bold; Meyer had a clinical perception, Weiditz 
approached individual plants with appreciation; Meyer 
was limited by Fuchs' insistence on precision without 
artistic expression and feeling. Perhaps that is why his 
illustrations were used for more than 200 years. 

Although not new, copperplate etching was only 
employed for botanical illustration towards the end of 
the sixteenth century. Eventually this and other 
techniques replaced the use of woodblocks. However, 
wood-engraving flourished again for a while in the 
nineteenth century. Thomas Bewick (1753 to 1828) led 
this revival, using skills learnt as a copper engraver. He 
substituted hard boxwood for soft wood, engraving on 
the end grain of the wood. Perfecting this technique 
enabled the use of wood engraving for detailed 
illustrations, often made from photographs. Examples 
are found in Baillon's Histoire des pi antes 1866-1895, and 
Anton Kerner von Marilaun's Pflanzenleben 1887-1891. 
Pflanzenleben contained some of the last of the fine 
woodcuts in botanical illustration. Continental engravers 
were as skilful as the British. The technical brilliance of 
these later wood engravings restored the technique to 
the status of an art, thus it avoided competing with 
photographic tone reproduction. 

The Frenchman, Auguste Faguet (1841 to 1886), a 
prolific illustrator of the late nineteenth century, 
produced delicate botanical wood engravings of great 
accuracy. These drawings indicate true perspective, the 


29 ibid. Blunt, p51 


xlv 



THE BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATIONS 


careful craftsmanship making distant elements recede. 
He illustrated the extensive set of Henri Ernest Baillon's 
H istoire des plan tes 1866-1895, including its many editions. 
Faguet’s other work for Baillon included R echerches . . . des 
coni feres 1860; Dictionnaire de botanique 1876-1892; 1186 
woodcuts in Traite de botanique medicate phanerogamique 
1883-1884; 370 woodcuts in Traite de botanique medicale 
cryptogamique 1889; Logan iacees 1856; and Bignoniacees 
1864. Henri Faguet's talent also benefited Edouard 
Bureau's M onographie des bignoniacee 1864; Alfred 
Grandidier's monumental H istoire physique, naturelle et 
politique de Madagascar 1875; and H istoire naturelle des 
pi antes 1886-1903. Among other artists Faguet also 
worked on a periodical, L 'H orticulteur F r an cais, journal des 
amateurs et des interets horti coles 1851-1872. These fine 
woodcuts were superseded by renewed general use of 
metal printing plates for botanical illustrations. 

Thiebault assisted Faguet in illustrating Henri 
Baillon's H istoire des plantes 1866-1895. He also 
contributed engraved text figures to Dujardin-Beaumetz 
& Egasse' s L es plan tes medi ci naiesindi gen es ex exoti qu e 1889, 
and his drawings appeared in The Floral Register, a 
periodical published from 1825 to 1851. 

In Pflanzenleben 1887-1891 Anton Joseph Ritter Kerner 
von Marilaun (1831 to 1898) used a number of Austrian 
and German artists, their work interpreted as 
wood-engravings. This important two-volume work 
spawned several editions, including translations into 
English, Russian, Italian and Dutch. We know little of 
these artists, among whom are Adele von Kerner, Ernst 
Heyn (1841 to 1894), F Tegetmeyer, Hermann von 
Konigsbrunn (1823 to 1907), Eugen von Ransonnet (1838 
to ? ), Ignaz Seelos (1827 to 1902), Joseph Selleny (1824 to 
1875), K Springer, S Teuchmann, and Olof Winkler (1843 
to 1895). Olof Winkler and Ernst Heyn assisted with the 
preparation of lithographs from illustrations (and 
chromolithographs from paintings) by Joseph Selleny 
and others. Anton Kerner von Marilaun illustrated his 
own M onographia Pulmoniarum 1878. Ernst Heyn 
illustrated Emil Adolf Rossmassler's Der Wald 1863, 
producing 117 copper engravings. Hermann von 
Konigsbrunn illustrated Franz Xaver Unger's 
Wissenschaftlicheergebnisseeiner reisein Griechenland 1862. 
Ignaz Seelos made the lithographs and Joseph Selleny 
the frontispiece for Johann Joseph Peyritsch's Aroideae 


xlvi 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


M aximilianae 1879. German professor Heinrich Moritz 
Willkomm (1821 to 1895), specialised in the botany of 
south-western Europe. He often illustrated his own 
works, and his coloured drawings are mainly of unusual 
plants from Spain, Portugal, and the Balearic Islands. His 
many publications include Recherches sur ... Globulariees 
1850; leones et descriptiones pi an tar um novarum 1852-1862; 
as well as lllustrationes florae Hispaniae 1881-1892 with 
coloured lithograph plates. AH Payne and A Eckstein 
occasionally provided him with illustrations. 

The well-travelled Otto Warburg (1859 to 1938), 
botanist and political activist, produced the richly 
illustrated D ie pflanzenwelt 1913-1922, with figures by H 
Buffe, H Eichhorn, M Gurke, U Grimme amongst others, 
including some coloured plates. Warburg's extensive 
work emerged from his travels in south-eastern Asia, 
Oceania, Australia and southern Africa. 

Heinrich Gustaf Adolf Engler (1844 to 1930) was the 
most prolific German botanical taxonomist. He published 
ambitiously and enthusiastically, using a number of 
artists to illustrate his works, including Joseph Pohl, an 
artist with apprenticeship as a wood-engraver. Engler 
noticed Pohl's talent very early, starting a collaboration of 
almost forty years. Amongst his prodigious output Josef 
Pohl (1864 to 1939) drew over 33,000 items in 6,000 figures 
for Engler s D ie naturlichen pflanzenfamilien 1887-1914. His 
plants are finely and accurately executed, but without 
flair. This work is of particular value because many new 
plants were described for the first time. The drawings are 
plain but complement the lengthy Latin descriptions in 
this monumental production. The illustrations take on 
particular significance because many of the actual plants, 
delineated so carefully, were destroyed in the bombing of 
the Berlin Herbarium. Pohl illustrated other major works 
by Engler, including Das pflanzenreich 1900-1953; Die 
pflanzenwelt A frikas 1908-1910; M onographien afrikanischer 
pflanzenfamilien 1898-1904; and most of the illustrations 
for the periodical E ngler's Botanische jahrbucher 1881 et seq. 
Assisted by Gottfried Keller (1873 to 1945) and Karoly 
Rezso Soo von Bere (1903 to 1980), Pohl illustrated 
Friedrich Richard Rudolf Schlechter's M onographie und 
iconographie der orchideen 1928-1942; and Karl Moritz 
Schumann's Bluhende kakteen ( Iconographia cactacearum ) 


xlvii 



THE BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATIONS 


1900-1921; and was one of many artists contributing (i.e. 
the orchid illustrations) to Carl Friedrich Philipp von 
Martius' magnificent Flore Brasiliensis 1840-1906. 
Vogelmeyer and Henri Bocquillon also contributed some 
drawings to Engler's publications. 

Jean Emmanuel Maurice le Maout illustrated his A tlas 
dementaire de botanique 1846; as well as Lecons elementaire 
de botanique 1844, including later editions. With Joseph 
Decaisne he wrote Flore elemental redes jardins et des champs 
1855, translated by Mrs Hooker as General system of botany 
1876. With P Bernard and L Couilhac, Maout's first book 
was published as Lejardin des pi antes 1842-1843. 

Botanical art highlights two opposing needs — 
revealing the true physical character of a plant; and the 
illustrator's response to the beauty of the subject. Each 
artist balances the conflict of art versus science. Most 
botanical publications require large numbers of 
illustrations, demanding speed as well as accuracy, and a 
working knowledge of current printing technology. The 
illustrations selected for this volume appeal both 
scientifically and descriptively, while incorporating a 
decidedly decorative quality. They also had to survive 
the transition to digital format. 



Statice thouini 


after FAGUET — 1892 


xlviii 


PRINTED BOOKS 


A chronological list of printed books copying, based upon, annotating, 
discussing, amplifying, or extending the manuscripts of 
the DeM ateria M edica of Pedanios Dioscorides 


Contributors, 

Authors, 


Date of 
publication 
and language/s 

Title 

Editors, 
Illustrators, 
Publishers 
[Place of 
Publication] 

Pritzel 

and 

other 

Refer 

-ences 

1473 

(1475) 

Latin 

L iber Serapioris aggregatus in medicinis simplicibus. 

Serapion 

[Mediolani] 

1.8616 

1478 

Latin 

(Folium la:) Notadum q; libri diascorides died duplex rperit 
ordinatio cum eodum tamen ephemio omnio. Explic 
dyascorides que petrus paduanesis legendo corexit et 
exponendo q vtiliora sut 1 luce; deduxit. 

Petrus 
Paduenesis 
[Colle, near 
Siena] 

1.2299 

1479 

Latin 

L iber Serapionis aggregatus in medicinis simplicibus. 

Joannes 

Serapion 

2nd ed 
[Venetijs] 

4.1 

1499 

Greek 

nEAAKiOY aioekopiaoy. Textus D ioscoridis, textuset 
scholia N icandri. 

Aldus Manutius 
[Venetiis] 

1.2291 

1514 

Latin 

Dyoscoridis exactissimi indagatoris fidelissimiq: scriptoris 
virtutu simpliciu medicinaru Liber. Cccccccxvij continens 
capitula: cum nonullis additionibus Petri paduanesis in 
margine libri notatis. 

Petrus 

Paduanensis 

[Lugduni] 

1.2300 

1516 

Latin 

JoannisBaptitaeEgnatii Veneti in Dioscoridem abHermolao 
Barbaro tralatum annotamenta, quibus morborum et 
remediorum vocabula obscuriora in usum etiam mediocriter 
eruditorum explicantur. 

Hermolao 

Barbaro, 

J Egnatii 
[Venetiis] 

1.2301, 2, 
4.28 

1516 

Latin 

Pedacii Dioscorides A nazarbei demedicinali materia libri 
quinq; de viruletis animalibus et venenis cane rabioso, et 
eorum notis ac remediis libri quatuorJoanneRuellio 
Suessionensi interprete. 

Joanne Ruellio 
[Parrhisiorm] 

1.2302 

1516 

Latin 

Corollarii in Dioscoridem libri quinquenon anteimpressi. 
Impr. cumJohannisBaptistaeEgnatii in Dioscoridem 
annotamentis. 

Ermolao 

Baptista, 

J B Egnatii 
[Venetiis] 

1.0407, 3 

1518 

Latin 

Pedacii DioscoridaeAnazarbei demedica materia libri sex, 
interprete M arcello Vergilio, secretarioFlorentino, cum 
ejutdem annotation! bus, nuperquediligentissimeexcusi. 

Marcello 

Vergilio 

[Florentiae] 

1.2303, 3 

1518 

Greek 

aioskopiahz. A foil. 223 ordo numerorum turbatus est, 
ideoque folium ultimum 235 falso numeratum est. 

Saracenus, 
Asulanus, Roscio 
[Venetiis] 

1.2292, 3 

1523 

Greek 

aioekopiahz. A foil. 223 ordo numerorum turbatus est, 
ideoque folium ultimum 235 falso numeratum est. 

Saracenus, 
Asulanus, Roscio 
[Venetiis] 

1.2292 

1523/8 

Latin 
& Greek 

Pedacii Dioscorides Anazarbei demedica materia libri sex a 

M arcello Virgilio (Vergilio), secretario Florentino, latinitate 
donati, cum ejusdem commentationibus, nuper quam 
diligentissime ex secunda interpretis recognitione excusi. 

Marcello Virgilio 1.2305, 3 
[Florentiae] 


il 


PRINTED BOOKS 


1526 Latin 

1527 Latin 

1529 Latin 
1529 Latin 

1529 Greek 

1529 Greek 

1530 Latin 

1530-6 Latin 

1531 Latin 

1532 Latin 

1532 German 

1532 German 

1533 Latin 

1534 Latin 

1536 Latin 

1537 Latin 

1537 German 


Editiones Ruellianaein minori forma. Pedacii Dioscorides 
Anazarbei demedicinali materia iibri quinq ; deviruletis 
ani mali bus et venenis canerabioso, et eorum notis ac remediis 
Iibri quatuor, JoanneRuellio Suessionensi interprete. 

Pedacii Dioscorides Anazarbei demedicinali materia iibri 
quinq ; de viruletis ani mali bus et venenis canerabioso, et 
eorum notis ac remediis Iibri quatuor, Joanne Ruellio 
Suessionensi interprete. 

P. D ioscoridae Pharmacorum simplicium ra'quemedicae Iibri 
VIII. Jo. Ruellio interprete. 

Pedacii Dioscorides Anazarbei demedicinali materia Iibri 
quinq ; de viruletis animalibus et venenis canerabioso, et 
eorum notis ac remediis iibri quatuor, Joanne Ruellio 
Suessionensi interprete. 

aiolkopi ahz. Paucis emendatis ex editione anni 1518 
repetita est. Nullum vestigium est, editorem Janum 
Cornarium codicibus usum fuisse. 

Pedacii DioscoridaeAnazarbei demedica materia iibri V de 
letalibus venenis, eorumqueprecautioneet curatione liber 
unus, interpreteM arcello Vergilio, SecretarioFlorentino. 

Corollarii in Dioscoridem Iibri quinquenon anteimpressi. 
Impr. cum Johannis BaptistaeEgnatii in Dioscoridem 
annotamentis. 


Herbarum vivaeei cones ad naturaeimitationem summa cum 
diligentia et arteficio effigiatae, una cum effectibus earundem 
in gratiam veteris illius et jamjam renascentis herbariae 
medicinae, per Oth. Brunf. 

Insignium medicorum Joan. SerapionisArabis desimplicibus 
medicinis opus praeclarum et in gens. A verroisArabis de 
eiodem liber eximius. R asis filii 2 achariae de eisdem 
opusculum perutile. 

Editiones Ruellianaein minori forma. Pedacii Dioscorides 
Anazarbei demedicinali materia Iibri quinq; deviruletis 
animalibus et venenis canerabioso, et eorum notis ac remediis 
Iibri quatuor, JoanneRuellio Suessionensi interpr&e. 
Contrafyt kreuterbuch nach rechter volkommener art. und 
beschreibungen der alten bestberumpten artzt, vormalsin 
T eutscher sprach, der massen nye gesehen noch in truck 
ausgangen. Sampt einer gemeynen inleytung der kreuter 
urhab. Erkantnuss, brauch, lob und herrlichhgeit. 

Herbarum vivaeeicones ad naturaeimitationem summa cum 
diligentia et arteficio effigiatae, una cum effectibus earundem 
in gratiam veteris il/ius et jamjam renascentis herbariae 
medicinae, per Oth. Brunf. 

Annotatiunculae aliquot Cornelii Petri Leydensis in quatuor 
libros D ioscoridis A nazarbei. 

Stirpium differentiae ex Dioscoride secundum locos 
communes, opus ad ipsarum plantarum cognitionem 
admodum conducibile. 

Index D ioscoridis. Ejusdem historiales campi cum expositione 
Joannis Roderici CasteUi albi Lusitani (Amati Lusitani). 

Editiones Ruellianaein minori forma. Pedacii Dioscorides 
Anazarbei demedicinali materia Iibri quinq; deviruletis 
animalibus et venenis canerabioso, et eorum notis ac remediis 
Iibri quatuor, JoanneRuellio Suessionensi interprete. 
Contrafyt kreuterbuch nach rechter volkommener art. und 
beschreibungen der alten bestberumpten artzt, vormalsin 
T eutscher sprach, der massen nye gesehen noch in truck 
ausgangen. Sampt einer gemeynen inleytung der kreuter 
urhab. Erkantnuss, brauch, lob und herrlichhgeit. 


Joanne Ruellio 
[Bononiae] 

1.2306, 3 

Joanne Ruellio 
2nd ed 
[Venetiis] 

3 

Joanne Ruellio 
[Argentorata] 

1.2304, 3 

Joanne Ruellio 
2nd ed 
[Argentorati] 

1.2302 

Janum 

Cornarium 

[Basileae] 

1.2293, 3 

Marcello 

Vergilio 

[Coloniae] 

1.2294, 3 

Ermolao 

Barbaro, 

J B Egnatii 
[Coloniae] 

1.0407, 2 

Otto Brunfels, 

1.1283, 2, 

Schottum, Largi 

3, 4.42, 

[Argentorati] 

5.30 

Serapion 

[Argentorati] 

1.8616 

Joanne Ruellio 
2nd ed 
[Basiliae] 

1.2306 

Otto Brunfels 

1.1283, 3, 

[Strassburg] 

4.43 

Otto Brunfels 

1.1283, 3, 

[Strassburg] 

4.43 

Cornelis Petri 
[Antwerpiae] 

1.7091 

Benedict Textor 
[Parisiis] 

1.9174 

Lusitanus (JR de 

Castelbranco) 

[Antwerpiae] 

1.123, 2 

Joanne Ruellio 
3rd ed 
[Parisiis] 

1.2306, 3 

Otto Brunfels 

2nd ed 
[Strassburg] 

1.1283 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1537 

1538 

1539 

1539 

1541 

1541 

1541 

1542 

1542 

1542 

1542 

1542 

1543 

1543 

1543 

1543 


Latin 


Latin 


Latin 


German 


Latin 


Latin 


Latin 


Latin 


Italian 


Latin 


Latin 


Latin, 

Greek, 

German, 

French 


Latin, 

Greek, 

German, 

French 


Flemish 


Latin 


Latin 


Stirpium differentiae ex Dioscoride secundum locos 
communes, opus ad ipsarum plantarum cognitionem 
admodum conducibile. 

Pedacii DioscoridesAnazarbei demedicinali materia libri 
quinq; de viruletis animalibus et venenis cane rabioso, et 
eorum notis ac remediis libri quatuor,JoanneRueHio 
Suessionensi interprete. 

M edicinaeherbariaelibri duo, quorum primus habet herbas 
hujus saeculi medicis communes cum veteribus, D ioscoride 
videlicet, Galeno, Oribasio, Paulo, Aetio, Plinio et horum 
similibus. 

N ew Kreutterbuch von underscheydt, wurckung und namen 
der kreutter, so in teutschen landen wachsen. A uch 
derselbigen eygentlichem und wolgegrundetem Gebrauch in 
der A rznei zu behalten und zu furdern leibs gesuntheyt fast 
nutzund trostlichem, vorab gemeynem verstand. 

H istoria plantarum et vires ex D ioscoride, Paulo Aegneta, 
Theophrasto, Plinio et recentioribusGraecis juxta 
elementorum ordinem. 

H istoria plantarum et vires ex D ioscoride, Paulo Aegneta, 
Theophrasto, Plinio et recentioribusGraecis juxta 
elementorum ordinem. 

H istoria plantarum et vires ex D ioscoride, Paulo Aegneta, 
Theophrasto, Plinio et recentioribusGraecis juxta 
elementorum ordinem. 

Pedacii DioscoridesAnazarbei demedicinali materia libri 
quinq ; de viruletis animalibus et venenis cane rabioso, et 
eorum notis ac remediis libri quatuor,JoanneRueHio 
Suessionensi interprete. 

Dioscorides, Pedanios, Anazarbeus. D ioscoride fatto di greco 
italiano.AI cui finesonoappostelesuetavoleordinate, con 
certeavertenze, etrattati necessarj, per fa materia medesima. 
Per CurtioTrojanodi Navo. 

Editiones Ruelianaein minori forma. Pedacii Dioscorides 
Anazarbei demedicinali materia libri quinq; de viruletis 
animalibus et venenis cane rabioso, et eorum notis ac remediis 
libri quatuor,JoanneRuellioSuessionensi interprete. 
Dehistoria stirpium commentarii insignes, maximis impensis 
et vigiliis elaborati, adjectis earundem vivis plusquam 
quingentis imaginibus, nunquam antea ad naturae 
imitationem arteficiosius effictiset express i. 

Catalogus plantarum latine, graece, gemaniceet gallice. 

N amenbuch alter erdgewachsen, lateinisch, griechlsch, teutsch 
und franzosisch. U na cum vulgaribus pharmacopolarum 
nominibus. Adjectaesunt etiam herbarum nomenclaturae 
variarum gentium, Dioscoridi adscriptae secundum literarum 
ordinem expositae. 

Catalogus plantarum latine, graece, gemaniceet gallice. 

N amenbuch alter erdgewachsen, lateinisch, griechisch, teutsch 
und franzosisch. U na cum vulgaribus pharmacopolarum 
nominibus. Adjectaesunt etiam herbarum nomenclaturae 
variarum gentium, Dioscoridi adscriptae secundum literarum 
ordinem expositae. Cum Dioscoride Ryffi. 

D en nieuwen herbarius, dat is, dboeck van den cruyden int 
welckebescreven isniet alleen diegantsehistorievan de 
cruyden, maer oock gefigureert ende geconterfeyt. 

Pedacii Dioscorides Anazarbei demedicinali materia libri 
quinq; de viruletis animalibus et venenis cane rabioso, et 
eorum notis ac remediis libri quatuor,JoanneRueHio 
Suessionensi interprete. 

Pedacii Dioscorides Anazarbei demedicinali materia libri 
quinq; de viruletis animalibus et venenis cane rabioso, et 
eorum notis ac remediis libri quatuor,JoanneRueHio 
Suessionensi interprete. 


Benedict Textor 
[Venetiis] 

1.9174 

Joanne Ruellio 
3rd ed 
[Venetiis] 

1.2302, 3 

Johann Agricola, 
Georg Paurle 
[Basileae] 

1.71, 3 

Hieronymous 
Bock (Tragus) 
[Strassburg] 

1.864, 4.52 

Konrad Gesner 
[Basileae] 

1.3297 

Konrad Gesner 
[Parisiis] 

1.3297 

Konrad Gesner 
[Venetiis] 

3 

Joanne Ruellio 

1.2302, 3, 

4th ed 
[Basileae] 

6 

C T di Navo, 
Longiano, 
Egineta 
[Venetia] 

1.2315, 3 

Joanne Ruellio 
4th ed 
[Basileae] 

1.2306 

Leonhard Fuchs 

1.3138, 2, 

[Basileae] 

3, 4.59, 

5.48 

Konrad Gesner 
[Tiguri] 

1.3298, 7 

Konrad Gesner 
[Francofurti] 

1.3298, 7 

Leonhard Fuchs 

1.3139, 2, 

[Basel] 

3 

Joanne Ruellio 
5th ed 
[Francofurti] 

1.2302, 3 

Joanne Ruellio 

1.2302, 3, 

6th ed 
[Lugduni] 

4.61, 5.50 


li 



PRINTED BOOKS 


1543 


1543 


1543 


1543 

1543 

1544 

1544 

1544 

1545 


1545 


1545 

1546 


1546 


Latin 


German 


German 


Latin 


Latin 


Italian 


Latin 


Italian 


Latin 


German 


Latin 

Latin 


Italian 


Editiones Ruelianaein minor i forma. Pedacii Dioscorides 
Anazarbei demedicinali materia iibri quinq ; deviruletis 
animalibus et venenis canerabioso, et eorum notis ac remediis 
Iibri quatuorJoanneRuellioSuessionensi interprete. 

In D ioscoridis historiam plantarum certissima adaptatio, cum 
earundem iconum nomenclaturis graecis, latinis et 
germanicis. D er kreuter rechte wahrhafftige contrafactur, 
erkanntnuss und namen, kryechisch, lateinisch und deutsch, 
nach der Beschreibung D ioscoridis. 

New Kreuterbuch, in weichem nitallein diegantz histori das 
ist, namen, gestalt, statt und zeit der wachsung natur, kraft 
und wurckung des meysten theyls der kreuter so in teutschen 
und andern landen wachsen, rhit dem besten vleiss 
beschriben, sonder auch alter derselben wurtzel Stengel bletter, 
blumen, samen, frucht und in summa die gantze gestalt allso 
artlich und kunstlich abgebildet und kontrafayt ist, das 
dessgleichen vormals niegesehen noch an tag kommen. 

In D ioscoridaeA nazarba de re medica libros e M arcello 
Virgilio versos scholia nova. 

Dehistoria stirpium commentarii insignes, maximis impensis 
et vigiliis elaborati, adjectis earundem vivis plusquam 
quingentis imaginibus, nunquam antea ad naturae 
imitationem arteficiosius effictiset expressi. 

D i Pedacio D ioscorideAnazarbeo Iibri cincqe della historia et 
materia medicinale tradotti in lingua volgare italiana da M 
Pietro Andrea M attioli SaneseM edico. Con amplissimi 
Discorsi, tfcommenti, et Dottissime annotation'! et censure 
del medesimo interprete. 

Apologia, qua refellit maltiosas Gualtheri Ryffi, veteratoris 
pessimi, reprehen si ones, quaeilleDioscoridi nuper ex 
Egenolphi officina prodeunti attexuit: obiterquequam multas, 
imo propemodum omnes herbarum imagines esuis de 
stirpium historia inscriptis commentariis idem suffuratus sit, 
ostendit. 

Di Pedacio D ioscorideAnazarbeo Iibri cique della historia et 
materia medicinale tradotta in lingua volgare italiana da M 
Pietro A ndrea M atthiolo Sanese medico. 

Pedanii D ioscoridis Anazarbei demedicinali materia Iibri sex, 
Joanne RueHioSuessionensi interprete. Singulis cum 
stirpium, turn animantium historiis, ad naturae 
aemulationem expressis imaginibus, seu vivis picturis, ultra 
millenarium numerum adjectis; non sine multi plici 
peregrinatione, sumptu maxi mo, studio atquediligentia 
singulari ex diversis regionibus conquisitis. Per Gualtherum 
H Ryff, Argentinum. Accesserein eundem autorem Scholia 
nova, cum nomenclaturis graecis, latinis, hebraicise t 
germanicis, Joanne L onicero, autore. 

L ablicheAbbildung und C ontrafaytung alter kreuter, so der 
hochgelert Herr L eon hart Fuchs in dem ersten they I seins 
neuwen Kreuterbuchs hat begriffen, in ein kleinereform auf 
das allerartlichest gezogen, damit sie fuglich von alien mogen 
hin und wider zur noturfft getragen und gefurt werden. 
Destirpium historia commentariorum tomi vivae imagines, in 
exiguam angustioremqueformam contractae. 

Pedacii Dioscorides Anazarbei demedicinali materia Iibri 
quinq; de viruletis animalibus et venenis canerabioso, et 
eorum notis ac remediis Iibri quatuor.JoanneRuehio 
Suessionensi interprete. 

D ioscorideA nazarbeo delta materia medicinale. T radotto in 
lingua florentina da M M arcantonio M ontigiano da S 
Gimignano, medico. 


Joanne Ruellio 
5th ed 
[Lugduni] 

Otto Brunfels 
[Argentorati] 


Leonhard Fuchs 
[Basell] 


J Lonitzer 
(Lonicerus) 
[Marpurgi] 
Leonhard Fuchs 
[Parisiis] 


Pietro Andrea 

Mattioli 

[Venetia] 


Leonhard Fuchs, 

Ryffi 

[Basileae] 


Pierandrea 

Mattioli 

[Venetia] 

Joanne Ruellio, 

Lonicero 

[Francofurti] 


Leonhard Fuchs 
[Basell] 


Leonhard Fuchs 
[Basileae] 

Joanne Ruellio 
7th ed 
[Lugduni] 

Marcantonio M 
da S Gimignano 
[Genaio] 


lii 


1.2306 

1.1285, 

4.60 


1.3139, 2, 
3, 4.62, 6 

1.5600 

3 

1.2316, 3 

1.3141 

1.5986, 3 

1.2307 

1.3140, 2 

1.3140 
1.2302, 3 

1.2317, 
4.69 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1546 

1546 

1546 

1546 

1547 

1547 

1547 

1547 

1547 

1548 

1548 

1549 

1549 

1549 


German 


German 


Latin 


German 


Latin 


Latin 


Italian 


Italian 


Latin 


Italian 


Italian 


Latin 


Greek 
& Latin 

Latin 


Deshochberumpten Pedanii DioscoridisAnazarbei 
Grundlicheund gewisseBeschreibung alter materien und 
gezeugs der A rtzney, in sechs Bucher verfast, und zum ersten 
mal aus der Griechsen und Lateinischen Sprachen grundlich 
verteutscht durch Johan Dantzen von Ast. 

H erbarum vivae ei cones ad naturae imitationem summa cum 
diligentia et arteficio effigiatae, una cum effectibus earundem 
in gratiam veteris illius et jamjam renascentis herbariae 
medicinae, per Oth. Brunf. 

Dehistoria stirpium commentarii insignes, maximis impensis 
et vigiliis elaborati, adjectis earundem vivis plusquam 
quingentis imaginibus, nunquam antea ad naturae 
imitationem arteficiosius effictiset expressi. 

Kreuterbuch. Darin Underscheid, Wurckung und N amen der 
Kreuter, soin Deutschen Landen wachsen, auch derselbigen 
eigentlicher und wohlgegrundeter Gebrauch in derArtznei 
flessig dargeben, L eibs G esundheit zu behaltenund zu furdern 
sehr nutlich und trostlich, Vorab dem gemeineeinfaltigen 
M an. 

Pedacii DioscoridesAnazarbei demedicinali materia libri 
quinq ; de viruletis animalibus et venenis cane rabioso, et 
eorum notis ac remediis libri quatuorJoanneRuellio 
Suessionensi interprete. 

Editiones RueHianaein minori forma. Pedacii Dioscorides 
Anazarbei demedicinali materia libri quinq; de viruletis 
animalibus et venenis cane rabioso, et eorum notis ac remediis 
libri quatuorJoanneRuellio Suessionensi interprete. 

D ioscorideAnazarbeo della materia medicinal e. T radotto in 
lingua florentina da M M arcantonio M ontigiano da S 
Gimignano, medico. 

D i Pedacio D ioscorideAnazarbeo libri cique della historia et 
materia medicinale tradotta in lingua volgare italiana da M 
Pietro A ndrea M atthiolo Sanese medico. 


Dehistoria stirpium commentarii insignes, maximis impensis 
et vigiliis elaborati, adjectis earundem vivis plusquam 
quingentis imaginibus, nunquam antea ad naturae 
imitationem arteficiosius effictiset expressi. 

II DioscoridedeH' eccelenteDottor M edicoM P Andrea 
M atthioli da Siena: co i suoi discorsi, da esso la seconda volta 
illustrati et diligentementeampliati: con I'aggiunta del sesto 
librodei rimedi di tutti i veleni dalui nuovamentetradotto, 
et con dottissimi discorsi per tutto commentato. 

D i Pedacio D ioscorideAnazarbeo libri cique della historia et 
materia medicinale tradotta in lingua volgare italiana da M 
Pietro A ndrea M atthiolo Sanese medico. 


Pedacii DioscoridesAnazarbei demedicinali materia libri 
quinq; de viruletis animalibus et venenis cane rabioso, et 
eorum notis ac remediis libri quatuorJoanneRuellio 
Suessionensi interprete. 

D ioscoridis libri octo graece et latine. C astigationes in eosdem 
libros (auctoreJacoboGoupylo). 

Pedanii DioscoridisAnazarbei demedicinali materia libri sex, 
JoanneRueHio Suessionensi interprete. Singulis cum 
stirpium, turn animatium historiis, ad naturaeaemulationem 
expressis imaginibus, seu vivis picturis, ultra millenarium 
numerum adjectis; non sinemultiplici peregrinations 
sumptu maxi mo, studio atque diligentia singulari, ex diversis 
regionibusconquisitis. Per Gualtherum R ivium, Argentinum, 
M edicum. Accesserunt priori editioni Valerii Cordi Simesusii 
A nnotationes doctissimae in D ioscoridis de medica materia 
libros. 


Johan Dantzen 

1.2321, 

von Ast 
[Frankfurt am 
Mayn] 

4.67 

Otto Brunfels 

1.1283, 3, 

[Frankfurt am 
Mayn] 

6 

Leonhard Fuchs 
[Parisiis] 

1.3138 

Hieronymous 

1.865, 3, 

Bock (Tragus) 
[Strasburg] 

4.66 

Joanne Ruellio 
8th ed 
[Lugduni] 

1.2302 

Joanne Ruellio 
6th ed 
[Lugduni] 

1.2306, 3 

MM da S 
Gimignano 2nd 
ed 

[Firenze] 

1.2317, 3 

Pierandrea 

Mattioli 

2nd ed 
[Firenze] 

1.5986 

Leonhard Fuchs 
[Lugduni] 

1.3138, 3 

P Andrea 
Matthioli 
[Vinegia] 

1.2318, 3 

Pierandrea 

1.5986, 3, 

Mattioli 

3rd ed 
[Vinegia] 

5.59 

Joanne Ruellio 
9th ed 
[Francofurti] 

1.2302, 3 

Jacobo Goupylo 
[Parisiis] 

1.2295, 3 

Joanne Ruellio, 

G Rivium 
[Francofurti] 

1.2308 


liii 



PRINTED BOOKS 


1549 

Italian 

II D ioscoride dell' eccelen te D ottor M edico MPA ndrea 

M atthioli da Siena: co i suol discorsi, da esso la seconda volta 
illustrati et diligentementeampliati: con I'aggiunta del sesto 
libro dei rimedi di tutti i veleni da lui nuovamentetradotto, 
et con dottissimi discorsi per tutto commentato. Con 

I'aggiunta di tuttelefiguredellepiante, delleherbe, delle 
pietreedegi animali trattedal vero, et istesso natural e, etnon 
piu stampate. 

Pierandrea 

Matthioli 

[Mantova] 

1.2319 

1549 

French 

Commentaires tres excellens del'hystoire des plantes, 
composez premierementen latin par Leon hart Fousch, inedecin 
tres renomme; et depuis en franpois par un homme savant et 
bien expert en la matiere. 

Leonhard Fuchs 
[Paris] 

1.3139, 

5.60 

1549 

Italian 

Di Pedacio D ioscorideAnazarbeo libri cique della historia et 
materia medicinale tradotta in lingua volgare italiana da M 

P ietro A ndrea M atthiolo Sanese medico. 

Pierandrea 
Mattioli 3rd ed 
[Mantova] 

1.5986 

1549 

Latin 

De historia stirpium commentarii insignes, maximis impensis 
et vigiliis elaborati, adjectis earundem vivis plusquam 
quingentis imaginibus, nunquam antea ad naturae 
imitationem arteficiosius effictiset expressi. 

Leonhard Fuchs 
[Lugduni] 

1.3138, 3 

1549 

Latin 

Destirpium historia commentariorum tomi vivae imagines, in 
exiguam angustioremqueformam contractaecum totidem 
figuris ligno incisis absque textu praeter graecum, latinum, 
gallicum, germanicum. 

Leonhard Fuchs 
[Basileae] 

1.3140 

1549 

Latin 

Destirpium historia commentariorum tomi vivae imagines, in 
exiguam angustioremqueformam contractae. Stirpium 
imagines, in enchiridi formam. 

Leonhard Fuchs 
[Lugduni] 

1.3140 

1550 

Latin 

Pedacii DioscoridesAnazarbei demedicinali materia libri 
quinq; de viruletis animalibus et venenis canerabioso, et 
eorum notis ac remediis libri quatuor, Joanne Ruellio 
Suessionensi interpr&e. 

Joanne Ruellio 
10th ed 
[Lugduni] 

1.2302, 3 

1550 

Latin 

Editiones Ruellianaein minori forma. Pedacii Dioscorides 
Anazarbei demedicinali materia libri quinq: de viruletis 
animalibus et venenis canerabioso, et eorum notis ac remediis 
libri quatuor, JoanneRuellio Suessionensi interprete. 

Joanne Ruellio 
7th ed 
[Lugduni] 

1.2306 

1550 

Latin 

Editiones Rue/ianae in minori forma. Pedacii Dioscorides 
Anazarbei demedicinali materia libri quinq: de viruletis 
animalibus et venenis canerabioso, et eorum notis ac remediis 
libri quatuor, JoanneRuellio Suessionensi interprete. 

Joanne Ruellio 
8th ed 
[Venetiis] 

1.2306, 3 

1550 

Italian 

II D ioscoride dell' eccelen te D ottor M edico MPA ndrea 

M atthioli da Siena: co i suoi discorsi, da esso la seconda volta 
illustrati et diligentementeampliati: con I'aggiunta del sesto 
libro dei rimedi di tutti i veleni da lui nuovamentetradotto, 
et con dottissimi discorsi per tutto commentato. 

P Andrea 
Matthioli 2nd ed 
[Vinegia] 

1.2318 

1551 

Latin 

Botanologicon. Valerii Cordi Adnotationes in D ioscoridis de 
medica materi libros. 

Eurich Cordus 
[Parisiis] 

1.1883 

1551 

Latin 

De historia stirpium commentarii insignes, maximis impensis 
et vigiliis elaborati, adjectis earundem vivis plusquam 
quingentis imaginibus, nunquam antea ad naturae 
imitationem arteficiosius effictiset expressi. 

Leonhard Fuchs 
[Lugduni] 

1.3138, 3 

1551 

German 

Kreuterbuch, darinn U nderscheidt, Namen und Wurckung 
der Kreuter, Stauden Hecken und Beumen, sammt ihre 
Fruchten, soin deutschen Landen wachsen ... durch 

H ieronymum Bock aus langwiriger und gewisser erfarung 
beschriben, und jetzund von newwm fleissig ubersehen, 
gebessert und gemehret, dazu mit hupschen artigen und 
lablichen Figuren der K reutter allenthalben gezieret. 

Hieronymous 
Bock (Tragus) 
[Strassburg] 

1.866 

1552 

Latin 

Pedacii D ioscorides Anazarbei demedicinali materia libri 
quinq: de viruletis animalibus et venenis canerabioso, et 
eorum notis ac remediis libri quatuor, JoanneRuellio 
Suessionensi interprete. 

Joanne Ruellio 
11th ed 
[Lugduni] 

1.2302, 3, 
4.72 

1552 

Latin 

Editiones Ruellianaein minori forma. Pedacii Dioscorides 
Anazarbei demedicinali materia libri quinq: de viruletis 
animalibus et venenis canerabioso, et eorum notis ac remediis 
libri quatuor, JoanneRuellio Suessionensi interprete. 

Joanne Ruellio 
9th ed 
[Lugduni] 

1.2306 


liv 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1552 

Italian 

II Dioscoridedell' eccelenteDottor M edicoM P Andrea 

M atthioli da Siena : Coi suoi discorsi per la terza volta 
illustrati, et copiosamenteampliati: co'l sestolibrodegli 
Antidoti contra a tutti i veleni da lui tradotto et con dottissimi 
discorsi per tutto commentato. Aggiuntevi dueamplissime 
tavole, neH'una deilequali con somma facilita si puo ritrovare 
do, chein tutto il volumesi contiene; neH' altrapoi tutti i 
Semplici medicamenti, per qual si voglia morbo adunati 
in si erne. 

Vincenzo 

Valgrisi 

[Vinegia] 

1.2320 

1552 

Italian 

D i Pedacio D ioscorideAnazarbeo libri cique della historia et 
materia medicinale tradotta in lingua volgare italiana da M 
Pietro A ndrea M atthiolo Sanese medico. 

Pierandrea 

Mattioli 

5th ed 
[Vinegia] 

1.5986 

1552 

Latin 

Stirpium differentiae ex Dioscoride secundum locos 
communes, opus ad ipsarum plantarum cognitionem 
admodum conducibile. 

Benedict Textor, 
H Tragi 
[Argentinae] 

1.9174, 3 

1552 

Latin 

Destirpium maximeearum quaein Germania nostra 
nascuntur, usitatis nomenclaturis, propriisquedifferentiis, 
nequenon temperaturis acfacultatibus, Commentatiorum 
libri tres, germanica primum lingua conscripti, nunc in 
latinam conversi, interprete D avide Kybero, Argentinensi. 

Bock, Textoris, 
Gesner, Kyber 
[Argentorati] 

1.867, 2, 
4.71, 5.66 

1552 

Latin 

Destirpium historia commentariorum tomi vivae imagines, in 
exiguam angustioremqueformam contractae. Plantarum 
effigies, quinquediversis. 

Leonhard Fuchs 
[Lugduni] 

1.3140 

1552 

Latin 

Desimplicium medicamentorum historiae libri VII, interprete 
N ic. M utono. 

Serapion, 

Mutono 

[Venetiis] 

1.8616 

1553 

French 

L es six livres de P edacion D ioscoride d'A nazarbe de la matiere 
medicale translatez de latin en franpois. A chacun chapitre 
sont adjoutees certaines annotations fort doctes (par D M artin 
M atthee). 

Martin Matthee 
[Lyon] 

1.2314 

1553 

Latin 

In D ioscoridisAnazarbei demateria medica libros 
enarrationes eruditissimaeAmati Lusitani (iejuan 

Rodriguez deC astei bran co) . 

Amatus 
Lusitanus (de 
Castelbranco) 
[Venetiis] 

1.124, 2 

1553- 

1554 

Latin 

Trium priorum destirpium historia commentariorum 
imagines ad vivum expressae. U na cum indicibus graeca, 
latina, officinarum, germanica, brabantica, gailicaquenomina 
complectentibus. Posteriorum. 

Rembert 

Dodoens 

[Antwerpiae] 

1.2343, 

3, 5.68 

1554 

Latin 

Pedacii DioscoridesAnazarbei demedicinali materia libri 
quint j; de viruletis animalibus et venenis cane rabioso, et 
eorum notis ac remediis libri quatuor,JoanneRuellio 
Suessionensi interprete. 

Joanne Ruellio 
12th ed 
[Lugduni] 

1.2302 

1554 

Latin 

D ioscorides, Pedanios, A nazarbeus interprete Pet. Andr. 

M atthiolo, cum qusdem commentariis. 

Pietro Andrea 

Mattioli 

[Venetii] 

1.2309, 2, 
3 

1554 

Latin 

Pedacii Dioscoridis demateria medica libri VI innumeris locis 
ab A ndrea M atthiolo emendati ac restituti. 

Andrea 

Matthiolo 

[Lugduni] 

1.2310, 3, 
4.74 

1554 

Latin 

In D ioscoridisAnazarbei demateria medica libros 
enarrationes eruditissimaeAmati Lusitani (iejuan 

R odriguez de C astei bran co). 

Amatus 
Lusitanus (de 
Castelbranco) 
[Argentini] 

1.0124, 3 

1554 

Latin 

A nnotationes in D ioscoridem Anazarbeum juxta 
vetustissimorum tidem elaboratae. 

Andres Laguna 
[Lugduni] 

1.4992 

1554 

Latin 

P edacii D ioscoridis de materia medica libri sex, interprete 
Petro Andrea M atthiolo, cum qusdem commentariis. 

Pierandrea 

Mattioli 

[Venetiis] 

1.5985 

1554 

Dutch 

Cruydeboeck in den welcken diegheheelehistorie, dates 
tgheslacht, tfatsoen, naem natuere, cracht endewerckingghe 
van den cruyden, niet alleen hier telandewassende, maer oock 
van den anderen vremden in der medecijnen 
oorboorlijck..ghesfelt. 

Rembert 

Dodoens 

[Antwerpen] 

1.2344 


lv 



PRINTED BOOKS 


1555 

Spanish 

P edacio D ioscorides A nazarbeo A cerca de la materia medicinal 
y delos venenos mortiferos. Traducido delengua griega en la 
vulgar caste/ 1 ana y illustrado con Claras y substan tiales 
annotationesy con las figuras deinnumeras plantas 
exquisitasy raraspor el Doctor Andres de Laguna, M edicode 
Julio III Pont M ax. 

Andres de 

Laguna 

[Anvers] 

1.2313 

1555 

Italian 

II D ioscoride dell ' eccelen te D ottor M edico MPA ndrea 

M atthioli da Siena: co i suoi discorsi, da esso la seconda volta 
illustrati et diligentementeampliati: con I'aggiunta del sesto 
libro dei rimedi di tutti i veleni da lul nuovamentetradotto, 
et con dottissimi discorsi per tutto commentato. 

P Andrea 
Matthioli 

3rd ed 
[Vinegia] 

1.2318 

1555 

Italian 

1 discorsi di M Pietro Andrea M atthiolonei sei libri della 
materia medicinale di P edacio D ioscoride A nazarbeo. 

Pierandrea 

Mattioli 

[Vinegia] 

1.5987, 

4.77 

1555 

Latin 

Dehistoria stirpium commentarii insignes, maximis impensis 
et vigiliis elaborate adjectis earundem vivis plusquam 
quingentis imaginibus, nunquam antea ad naturae 
imitationem arteficiosius effictiset expressi. 

Leonhard Fuchs 
[Lugduni] 

3 

1556 

Latin 

Annotationes in Dioscoridem. 

Joannes Cosma 

Holtzachius 

[Lugduni] 

1.4188 

1556 

German 

Kreuterbuch, darinn U nderscheidt, Namen und Wurckung 
der Kreuter, Stauden Hecken und Beumen, sammt ihre 
Fruchten, soin deutschen Landen wachsen ... durch 

H ieronymum Bock aus langwiriger und gewisser erfarung 
beschrlben, und jetzund von newwm flassig ubersehen, 
gebessert und gemehret, dazu mit hupschen artigen und 
lablichen Figuren der K reutter allenthalben gezieret. 

Hieronymous 
Bock (Tragus) 
[Strassburg] 

1.866 

1557 

Latin 

Pedacii D ioscoridae A nazarbensis de materia medica libri V , 
JanoComario M edico, Physico interprete. Ejusdem Jani 

C omari i Emblemata singulis capitibus adjecta. 

Jano Cornario 
[Basileae] 

1.2311, 3 

1557 

Latin 

In DioscoridisAnazarbei demateria medica libros 
enarrationes eruditissimaeAmati Lusitani. 

Amatus 
Lusitanus 
(JR de 

Castelbranco) 

[Venetiis] 

1.124, 3 

1557 

Spanish 

FI istoria de las yervas y plantas, sacada de D ioscoride 

A nazarbeo. 

Juan Jarava 
[Anvers] 

1.2313, 7 

1557 

French 

H istoi redes pi antes, en laquelleest contenuela description 
entieredes herbes, c'est a direleurs especes, forme, noms, 
temperament, vertus et operations non seulement de celles qui 
croissent... usage demedecine. 

Rembert 

Dodoens 

[Anvers] 

1.2345, 

4.78 

1557 

Latin 

D e stirpium aliquot nominibus vetustis ac novis, quae multis 
jam saeculis vel ignorarunt medici, vel dees dubitarunt: ut 
sunt M ami ras, M oly, Oloconitis, Doronicum, 

Bulbocastanum, Gramen Azelin vel Habbaziz et alia 
complura, epistolaeduae... altera C Gesneri. 

Melchior 

Guilandinus 

[Basileae] 

1.3636 

1558 

Latin 

D ioscorides, Pedanios, A nazarbeus interprete Pet. Andr. 

M atthiolo, cum ejusdem commentariis. 

Pietro Andrea 
Mattioli 2nd ed 
[Venetiis] 

1.2309, 3 

1558 

Latin 

In DioscoridisAnazarbei de medica materia libros quinque 

A mati L usitani enarrationes eruditae. A ccedunt praeter 
correctiones lemmatum etiam adnotationes R oberti 
Constantini, necnon simplicium picturaeex Leonhardo 
Fuchsio, J acobo D alechampioatque aliis. 

Amatus 

Lusitanus, 

Constantini, 

Fuchs, 

Dalechamp 

[Lugduni] 

1.124, 3, 
4.79 

1558 

Latin 

A pologia adversus A matum L usitanum cum censura in 
ejusdem enarrationes. 

Mattioli, 

Lusitanum 

[Venetiis] 

1.5977, 3 

1558 

French 

L 'histoire des pi antes mis en commentaires par L eon art Fuchs 
medecin tres-renomme, et nouvellement traduict delatin en 
franpois avec vraye observation del'auteur en telle diligence 
quepourra tesmoigner ceste oevre presente. 

Leonhard Fuchs, 
G Rouille 

2nd ed [Lion] 

1.3139 


lvi 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1558 

1558 

1558 

1559 

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French 


Latin 


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Latin 


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Latin 


Latin 


Italian 


German 


Spanish 


Latin 


Pedacii Dioscoridisde materia medicalibri sex, interprete PMattioli, 
Petro, A ndrea M atthiolo, cum ejusdem commentariis. A djectis Lusitanum 
plurimis plantarem et animalium i magi ni bus. 2nd ed 


D e stirpibus aliquot epistolae V, M el chi oris G uilandini R IV, 
Conradi Gesneri Tigurini I. 

A pologiae adversus Petrum A ndream M atthiolum liber 
primus, qui inscribiturTheon. 

L es six livres de P edacion D ioscoride d'A nazarbe de la matiere 
medicale translatez de latin en frangois. A chacun chapitre 
sont adjoutees certaines annotations fort doctes (par D M artin 
M atthee). 

Pedacii Dioscoridis de materia medicalibri sex, interprete 
Petro Andrea M atthiolo, cum qusdem commentariis. Adjectis 
plurimis plantarem et animalium i magi ni bus. 

A pologia adversus A matum L usitanum cum censura in 
ejusdem enarrationes. 

De stirpium historia commentariorum imagines, in duos 
tomos digestae, supra priorem editionem multarum novarum 
figurarum accessionelocupletatae. 

M ethodi cognoscendorum simplicium libri III. Cum indice 
copioso. 

D ioscoride s, Pedanios, A nazarbeus interprete Pet. Andr. 

M atthiolo, cum ejusdem commentariis. 

P edacio D ioscoride s A nazarbeo A cerca de la materia medicinal 
y delos venenos mortiferos. Traducido delengua griega en la 
vulgar castellana y illustrado con Claras y substantiales 
annotationesy con las figuras deinnumeras plantas 
exquisitas y raras por el D odor A ndres de L aguna, M edico de 
Julio III Pont M ax. 

Stirpium descriptionis liber quintus, qua in Italia sibi visas 
describit in praecedentibus \ /ei omnino intatas vel non poluit. 
Demorboetobitu Valerii Cordi epistola H ieronymi Schreiberi 
N orimbergensis. 

Pedacii Dioscoridis de materia medica libri sex, interprete 
Petro Andrea M atthiolo, cum ejusdem commentariis. Adjectis 
plurimis plantarem et animalium i magi ni bus. 

I discorsi di M . P ietro A ndrea M atthiolo nel sei libri della 
materia medicinale di P edacio D ioscoride A nazarbeo. 


[Venetiis] 

Melchior 

Guilandinus 

[Patavii] 

Melchior 

Guilandinus 

[Patavii] 

Martin Matthee 
2nd ed 
[Lyon] 

P Mattioli, 

Lusitanum 

3rd ed [Venetiis] 

Mattioli, 

Lusitanum 

[Venetiis] 

Rembert 

Dodoens 

[Antverpiae] 

Bartolommeo 

Maranta 

[Venetiis] 

Pietro Andrea 

Mattioli 3rd ed 

[Venetiis] 

Andres de 

Laguna 

2nd ed 

[Madrid] 


Cordus, 

Schreiberi, 

Crucigeri 

[Argentina] 

P Mattioli, 

Lusitanum 

4th ed [Venetiis] 

Pierandrea 

Mattioli 


[Venetia] 

Kreuterbuch, darinn U nderscheidt, N amen und Wurckung Hieronymous 
der Kreuter, Stauden Hecken und Beumen, sammtihre Bock (Tragus) 
Fruchten, so in deutschen Landen wachsen ... durch [Strassburg] 

H ieronymum Bock aus langwiriger und gewisser erfarung 
beschriben, und jetzund von newwm fleissig ubersehen, 
gebessert und gemehret, dazu mit hupschen artigen und 
lablichen Figuren der Kreutter allenthalben gezieret. 


P edacio D ioscorides A nazarbeo A cerca de la materia medicinal Andres de 
y de los venenos mortiferos. T raducido de lengua griega en la Laguna 
vulgar castellana y illustrado con Claras y substantiales 3 r d ec j 
annotationesy con las figuras deinnumeras plantas [v , 

exquisitas y raras por el Doctor Andres de Laguna, M edico de 1 aenciaJ 
Julio III Pont M ax. 


1.5985, 

4.80 


1.3637 

1.3638 

1.2314, 

4.81 

1.5985, 3 

1.5977 

1.2343, 

5.79 

1.5796 

1.2309, 3 

1.2313, 7 


1.1885 


1.5985 

3 

1.866, 4.82 


1.2313 


A nnotationes in Pedacii D ioscoridis A nazarba de medica Valerius Cordus, 1.1884, 2, 
materia libros V. Cum qusdem H istoria stirpium et Sylva etc. Aretii, Gesneri 3, 4.86 


[Argentorati] 


lvii 



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1565 

1565 

1565 


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French 


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Italian 


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Czech 

Spanish 


Latin 


Italian 


German 


Dutch 


Greek 
& Latin 


Latin 


Latin 


German 


H istoria plantarum. Earum imagines, nomenclatura, 
qualitates et natalesolum. Quibus accesseresimplicium 
medicamentorum facultates secundum locos et genera ex 
Dioscoride. 

LesC ommentaires deM P Andre M atthiolus sur les six livres 
dePedacius D ioscorideA nazarbeen de la matiere medicinale. 

T raduits de latin en frangois par M .A ntoine du Pi net. 

H istoria plantarum. Quibus accesseresimplicium 
medicamentorum facultates secundum locos et genera ex 
Dioscoride. 

Semplici, liquali in piu Pareri a diversi nobili huomini scritti 
a paiono. N uovamentedeM Giovanni M arinello mandati in 
luce. [L Anguillara was born asL Squalermo, though known 
to his con temporaries as A loysius R omanus], 

P edacii D ioscoridis de materia medica libri sex, interprete 
Petro Andrea M atthiolo, cum e/usdem commentariis. 

H erbarz: ginak Bylinarz PerT haddeum H agek. 

P edacio D ioscorides A nazarbeo A cerca de la materia medicinal 
y delos venenos mortiferos. Traducido delengua griega en la 
vulgar caste/ 1 an a y illustrado con Claras y substan tiales 
annotationesy con las figuras deinnumeras plantas 
exquisitasy raraspor el Doctor Andres de Laguna, M edicode 
Julio III Pont M ax. 

Stirpium descriptionis liber quintus, qua in Italia sibi visas 
describit in praecedentibus \ /el omnino intatas vel non poluit. 
Demorbo et obitu Valerii Cordi eplstola H ieronymi Schreiberi 
N orimbergensis. 

I discorsi di M Pietro A ndrea M atthiolo ne I sei libri della 
materia medicinale di P edacio D ioscorideA nazarbeo. 

N ew Krauterbuch mit den allerschonsten und artlichsten 
Figuren aller Gewechss, dergleichen vormals in ka'ner 
Spracheniean den tag kommen. Folgends durch Georgium 
H andsch der Arzney D octorem. (First G erman edition and 
omits D ioscorides text). 

Cruydeboeck in den welcken diegheheelehistoriedat es 
tgheslacht, tfatsoen, naem natuere, cracht ende werckingghe 
van den cruyden, niet alleen hier te lande wassende, maer oock 
van den anderen vremden in der medecijnen 
oorboorlijck..ghesfelt 

Ped. D ioscoridis Anazarbei ad Andromachum, hocest de 
curationibus morborum per medicamenta paratu facilia, libri 
II. N unc primum et graeceediti etpartim aJoanneM oibano, 
medico A ugustano, partim vero post hujus mortem a C orado 
Gesnero in linguam latinam conversi; adjectis ab utroque 
interpretesymphoniis Galeni aliorumque graecorum 
medicorum. 

D ioscorides, Pedanios, A nazarbeus interprete Pet. Andr. 

M atthiolo, cum e/usdem commentariis. (large woodcuts). 

P edacii D ioscoridis de materia medica libri sex, interprete 
Petro Andrea M atthiolo, cum qusdem commentariis. Adjectis 
plurimis plantarem et animalium imaginibus. 

Kreuterbuch, darinn U nderscheidt, Namen und Wurckung 
der Kreuter, Stauden Flecken undBeumen, sammt ihre 
Fruchten, soin deutschen Landen wachsen ... durch 
FI ieronymum Bock aus langwiriger und gewisser erfarung 
beschriben, und jetzund von newwm flassig ubersehen, 
gebessert und gemehret, dazu mit hupschen artigen und 
lablichen Figuren der K reutter allenthalben gezieret. 


Pierandrea 

Mattioli 

[Lugduni] 

1.5994 

P Mattioli, 
Antoine du 

Pinet 

[Lyon] 

1.5991, 3 

Antoine du 

1.2539 

Pinet 

[Lugduni] 

4.87, 5.85 

Luigi Anguillara 

1.187, 2, 3, 

[Vinegia] 

4.84 

Pietro Andrea 
Mattioli 3rd ed 
[Lugduni] 

3 

Mattioli, Hagek 
[Praha] 

1.5992 

Andres de 
Laguna 

4th ed 
[Salamanca] 

1.2313 

Cordus, 

1.1885, 2, 

Schreiberi, 

Crucigeri 

[Argentorati] 

4.86 

Pierandrea 

Mattioli 

2nd ed [Vinegia] 

1.5987 

Pierandrea 

1.5989, 

Mattioli, 

4.89, 5.91, 

G Handsch 
[Prag, Venedig] 

6 

Rembert 

Dodoens 

[Antwerpen] 

1.2345, 3 

Moibano, 

1.2298, 

Gesnero, Gasser 
[Argentorati] 

4.91 

Pietro Andrea 

1.2309, 3, 

Mattioli 

[Venetiis] 

4.93 

P Mattioli, 

1.5985, 

Lusitanum 

5th ed [Venetiis] 

5.94 

Hieronymous 
Bock (Tragus) 
[Strassburg] 

1.866 


lviii 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


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(1571) 

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1573 


Czech 

Spanish 


Latin 


Latin 


Italian 


Latin 


Latin 


Spanish 


Latin 


Latin 


Latin 


Latin 


French 


French 


German 


Italian 


Herbarz: ginakBylinarz ... per Adam H uber et Dan Adam. 

P edacio D ioscorides A nazarbeo A cerca de la materia medicinal 
y deios venenos mortiferos. Traducido delengua griega en la 
vulgar castellana y illustrado con Claras y substantiales 
annotationesy con las figuras deinnumeras plantas 
exquisitas y raras por el D odor A ndres de L aguna, M edico de 
Julio III Pont M ax. 

H istoria plantarum. Earum imagines, nomenclatura, 
qualitates et natalesolum. Quibus accesseresimplicium 
medicamentorum facultates secundum locos et genera ex 
D ioscoride. 

H istoria plantarum. Quibus accesseresimplicium 
medicamentorum facultates secundum locos et genera ex 
D ioscoride. 

I discorsi di M Pietro A ndrea M atthiolo ne I sei libri della 
materia medlcinale di P edacio D ioscoride A nazarbeo. 

D ioscorides, Pedanios, A nazarbeus interpretePet. Andr. 

M atthiolo, cum ejusdem commentariis. 


Pedacii Dioscoridis de materia medica libri sex, interprete 
Petro Andrea M atthiolo, cum ejusdem commentariis. Adjectis 
plurimis plantarem et animalium i magi ni bus. 

P edacio D ioscorides A nazarbeo A cerca de la materia medicinal 
y deios venenos mortiferos. Traducido delengua griega en la 
vulgar castellana y illustrado con Claras y substantiales 
annotationesy con las figuras deinnumeras plantas 
exquisitas y raras por el D odor A ndres de L aguna, M edico de 
Julio III Pont M ax. 

Pedacii Dioscoridis de materia medica libri sex, interprete 
Petro Andrea M atthiolo, cum ejusdem commentariis. Adjectis 
plurimis plantarem et animalium i magi ni bus. 

Stirpium adversaria nova, perfacilis ves tigatio, luculentaque 
accessio ad priscorum, praesertim D ioscoridis et recent! orum 
materiam medicam. Q uibus praediem accedit altera pars. 
Conjectaneorum deplantis. 

Compendium deplantis omnibus, una cum earum icon bus de 
quibus scripsit suis in Commentariis in Dioscoridem editis. 


N ovum herbarium, sivemethodus cognoscendorum omnium 
simplicium. 

LesCommentaires deM P AndreM atthiolus medecin senois, 
sur les six livres de P edacius D ioscoride A nazarbeen de la 
matiere medicinale etc. M is en franpois sur la dernier edition 
latinedel'autheur par M .Jean desMoulins, docteur en 
medecine. 

LesCommentaires deM P AndreM atthiolus medicin senois 
sur les six livres de P edacius D ioscoride A nazarbeen de la 
matiere medicinale. Traduits delatin en franpois per M . 
Antoinedu Pin&. 

Kreuterbuch, darinn U nderscheidt, Namen und Wurckung 
der Kreuter, Stauden Hecken und Beumen, sammt ihre 
Fruchten, so in deutschen Landen wachsen ... durch 
H ieronymum Bock aus langwiriger und gewisser erfarung 
beschriben, und jetzund von newwm fleissig ubersehen, 
gebessert und gemehret, dazu mit hupschen artigen und 
lablichen Figuren der Kreutter allenthalben gezieret. 

I discorsi di M Pietro A ndrea M atthiolo ne I sei libri della 
materia medicinale di P edacio D ioscoride A nazarbeo. 


Mattioli, Huber, 

1.5993 

Adam [Prag] 


Andres de 

1.2313, 

Laguna 5th ed 

5.95 

[Salamanca] 



Pierandrea 

Mattioli 

[Lugduni] 

1.5994 

Antoine du 

1.2539, 

Pinet 

[Lugduni] 

5.100 

Pierandrea 

1.5987, 3, 

Mattioli 

3rd ed [Vinegia] 

6 

Pietro Andrea 
Mattioli 

2nd ed 
[Venetiis] 

1.2309 

P Mattioli, 
Lusitanum 

6th ed [Venetiis] 

1.5985 

Andres de 
Laguna 

6th ed 
[Salamanca] 

1.2313, 3 

P Mattioli, 

1.5985, 

Lusitanum 

7th ed [Venetiis] 

3, 4.102 

Pierre Pena, 

1.7029, 2, 

Mathias L'Obel 
[Londini] 

3, 4.103, 7 

Pierandrea 

1.5982, 3, 

Mattioli, 

Calceolarii 

[Venetiis] 

4.105, 6 

Bartolommeo 

Maranta 

[Venetiis] 

1.5796 

P Mattioli, M. 
Jean des 

Moulins 

[Lyon] 

1.5991, 3 

P Mattioli, 
Antoine du 

Pinet 

[Lyon] 

3 

Hieronymous 
Bock (Tragus) 
[Strassburg] 

1.866 

Pierandrea 

Mattioli 

[Venetia] 

3 


lix 



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1575 

1576 

1576 

1577 

1577 

1578 

1579 

1580 

1580 

1581 

1581 

1581 

1581 

1581 

1583 

1583 


French 


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Latin 


Latin 


German 


English 

French 


French 


German 


Latin 

Italian 

Dutch 

Flemish 

Latin 

Latin 

Latin 


L 'histoiredes pi antes reduicteen tres bon ordre, augmenteede 
plusiers simples avec leurs figures et pourtraicts: et iilustree 
par les commentaires deLeonarth Fusch, medicin tres-savant, 
faicts premierement en latin et puis traduit en frangais. 

Plantarum seu stirpium historia. Cui adnexum est 
Adversariorum volumen. 

Nova stirpium adversaria, perfacilis vestigatio, iuculentaque 
accessio ad priscorum, praesertim Dioscoridis et recent! orum 
materiam medicam. Q uibus access'd appendixcum indice 
variarum linguarum locupl. 

Epistolarum medicinalium libri III. His accesseruntAconiti 
primi D ioscoridis asseveratio, et de oxymellitis elleborati 
utriusquedsecriptioneet usu libellus. Omnia edita per 
Casparum Wolphium. 

Kreuterbuch, darinn U nderscheidt, Namen und Wurckung 
der Kreuter, Stauden Hecken und Beumen, sammt ihre 
Fruchten, so in deutschen Landen wachsen ... durch 
H ieronymum Bock aus langwiriger und gewisser erfarung 
beschriben, und jetzund von newwm flassig ubersehen, 
gebessert und gemehret, dazu mit hupschen artigen und 
lablichen Figuren der K reutter allenthalben gezieret. 

A nieweherbali, or histori of plants; first set forth in the 
doutche tongue, and now first translated out of french into 
english by H enry LyteEsq. 

Les Commentaires deM . P AndreM atthiolussur les six 
livres de P edacius D ioscorideA nazarbeen de la matiere 
medicin ale. Traduits de latin en francois par M .Jean des 
M oulins. 

L es six livres de P edacion D ioscoride d'A nazarbe de la matiere 
medicaletranslatez de latin en frango/s. A chacun chapitre 
sont adjoutees certaines annotations fort doctes (par D M artin 
M atthee). 

Kreuterbuch, darinn U nderscheidt, Namen und Wurckung 
der Kreuter, Stauden Hecken und Beumen, sammt ihre 
Fruchten, so in deutschen Landen wachsen ... durch 
H ieronymum Bock aus langwiriger und gewisser erfarung 
beschriben, und jetzund von newwm fleissig ubersehen, 
gebessert und gemehrtf, dazu mit hupschen artigen und 
lablichen Figuren der K reutter allenthalben gezieret. 
Alphabetum empiricum sive Dioscoridis et Stephani 
A theniensis philosophorum et medicorum de remediis expertis 
liber, juxta alphabet I ordinem digestus. 

I discorsi di M Pietro A ndrea M atthiolo ne I sei libri della 
materia medicinale di Pedacio D ioscorideA nazarbeo. 

Cruydeboeck in den welcken diegheheelehistoriedat es 
tgheslacht, tfatsoen, naem natuere, cracht ende werckingghe 
van den cruyden, niet alleen hier te lande wassende, maer oock 
van den anderen vremden in der medecijnen 
oorboorlijck..ghesfelt. 

Kruydtboeck oft beschryvinghe van allerlyeghewassen 
kruyderen, hesteren, endegheboomten. 

Plantarum seu stirpium icones. leones ligno incisae 
plerumque binae in unaquaque pagina. 

D ioscorides, Pedanios, A nazarbeus interpretePet. Andr. 

M atthiolo, cum ejusdem commentariis. 

P edacii D ioscoridis de materia medica libri sex, interprete 
Petro Andrea M atthiolo, cum ejusdem commentariis. Adjectis 
magnis ac novis plantarum iconibus. 


Leonhard Fuchs, 
Charles Pesnot 
3rd ed 
[Lyon] 

Matthias 
Lobelius 
[Antwerpiae] 
Pierre Pena, 
Mathias L'Obel 
[Antverpiae] 

Konrad Gesner 
[Tiguri] 


Hieronymous 
Bock (Tragus) 
[Strassburg] 


Rembert 

Dodoens 

[London] 

P Mattioli, 

Jean des 
Moulins 
[Lyon] 

Martin Matthee 
3rd ed 
[Lyon] 

Hieronymous 
Bock (Tragus) 
[Strassburg] 


Casparo 

Wolphio, 

Atheniensis 

[Tiguri] 

Pierandrea 

Mattioli 

[Venetia] 

Rembert 

Dodoens 

[Antwerpen] 


Matthias 

Lobelius 

[Antwerpen] 

Matthias 

Lobelius 

[Antwerpiae] 

Pietro Andrea 

Mattioli 3rd ed 

[Venetiis] 

P Mattioli, 
Lusitanum 
8th ed [Venetiis] 


lx 


1.3139, 

4.112 


1.5548, 2, 
4.114, 
5.126, 6 
1.7029, 2, 
3, 4.115, 
5.127 


1.3302, 7 


1.866 


1.2345, 2, 
3, 5.132, 
4.118 
3 


1.2314, 3 


1.866 


1.10679, 

3 


3 


1.2345 


1.5548, 3 


1.5549, 2, 
3, 5.138, 6 


1.2309, 3 


1.5985, 

4.124, 

5.145 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


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Latin 


Deplanti libri XVI. Ad serenissimum Franciscum M edicem, 
M agnumAetruriaeDucem. 

S tirpium historiae pemptades sex sive libri XXX. 


D e pi antis epitome utilissima novis plane ad vivum expressis 
i coni bus descriptionibusque longe et pluribus et 
accu rati ori bus, nunc primum diligenter aucta et locupletata a 
D JoachimoCamerario. 

Kreuterbuch des hochgelehrten und weitberuhmten Hr D 
Petri AndreaeM atthioli, jetzt wiederumb mit vielen schonen 
newen Figuren, auch nutzlichen Artzneyen und andern guten 
Stucken zun andern M al aus sondrem Fleiss gemehrtund 
gefertig durchjoachimum Camararium, der loblichen 
R eichsstatt N urnberg M edicum. 

A niewe herbal I, or histori of plants; first s& forth in the 
doutche tongue, and now first translated out of french into 
english by H enry LyteEsq. 

Kreuterbuch, darinn U nderscheidt, Namen und Wurckung 
der Kreuter, Stauden H ecken und Beumen, sammt ihre 
Fruchten, so in deutschen Landen wachsen ... durch 
H ieronymum Bock aus langwiriger und gewisser erfarung 
beschriben, und jetzund von newwm fleissig ubersehen, 
gebessert und gemehrtf, dazu mit hupschen artigen und 
lablichen Figuren der Kreutter allenthalben gezieret. 
Kreuterbuch des hochgelehrten und weitberuhmten Hr D 
Petri AndreaeM atthioli, jetzt wiederumb mit vielen schonen 
newen Figuren, auch nutzlichen Artzneyen und andern guten 
Stucken zun andern M al aus sondrem Fleiss gemehrtund 
gefertig durch Joachimum Camararium, der loblichen 
R eichsstatt N urnberg M edicum. 

Cruydeboeck in den welcken diegheheelehistoriedat es 
tgheslacht, tfatsoen, naem natuere, cracht endewerckingghe 
van den cruyden, niet alleen hier telandewassende, maer oock 
van den anderen vremden in der medecijnen 
oorboorlijck..ghesfelt 

Annotation i et emendationi nella tradottionedell' eccell. PA 
M attioli de' cinque libri della materia medicinaledi 
D ioscoride. 

leones stirpi urn seu plantarum tarn exoticarum quam 
indigenarum in gratiam rei herbariaestudiosorum in duas 
partes digestae. Cum septem linguarum Indici. 

Annotation i et emendationi nella tradottionedeH' eccell. PA 
M attioli de’ cinque libri della materia medicinaledi 
D ioscoride. 

Semplici ... . cum notis Casparis Bauhni. 

Kreuterbuch, darinn U nderscheidt, Namen und Wurckung 
der Kreuter, Stauden Hecken und Beumen, sammt ihre 
Fruchten, so in deutschen Landen wachsen ... durch 
H ieronymum Bock aus langwiriger und gewisser erfarung 
beschriben, und jetzund von newwm fleissig ubersehen, 
gebessert und gemehrtf, dazu mit hupschen artigen und 
lablichen Figuren der Kreutter allenthalben gezieret. 
Destirpium historia commentariorum tomi vivae imagines, in 
exiguam angustioremqueformam contractae, ic. Lignoinc. 
minimae. 

A niewe herball, or histori of plants; first set forth in the 
doutche tongue, and now first translated out of french into 
english by H enry LyteEsq. 

Pedacii Dioscoridisde materia medica libri sex, interprete 
Petro, A ndrea M atthiolo, cum ejusdem commentariis. A djectis 
magnis ac novis plantarum iconibus. 


Andrea 

Cesalpini 

[Florentiae] 

Rembert 

Dodoens 

[Antwerpiae] 

Mattioli, 

D ] Camerario 
[Francofurti] 

Mattioli, 
Camerarium 
[Frankfurt am 
Mayn] 


Rembert 

Dodoens 

[London] 

Hieronymous 

Bock (Tragus) 

[Strassburg] 


Mattioli, 
Camerarium 
[Frankfurt am 
Mayn] 


Rembert 

Dodoens 

[Antwerpen] 


Antonio Pasini 
[Bergamo] 

Matthias 

Lobelius 

[Antwerpiae] 

Antonio Pasini, 

Mattioli 

[Bergamo] 

Luigi Anguillara 
[Basileae] 2nd ed 
Hieronymous 
Bock (Tragus) 
[Strassburg] 


Leonhard Fuchs 
[Lugduni] 

Rembert 

Dodoens 

[London] 

P Mattioli, 
Lusitanum 
9th ed [Venetiis] 


1.1640, 2, 
4.122 


1.2350, 2, 
3, 4.123 
5.143 

1.5983, 

3.6,4.128 


3 


1.2345, 2 


1.866 


1.5990, 3, 
5.160 


1.2345 


3 


1.5549, 2, 
3, 4.135 


1.6964 


1.187 


1 . 866 , 3 , 

4.138 


1.3140 


1.2345, 2, 
3, 5.171 


1.5985 


lxi 



PRINTED BOOKS 


1596 

Czech 

H erbarz: ginak Bylinarz ...per A dam Huber et Dan A dam. 

Mattioli, 1.5993, 

Camerar, Huber, 4.139 
Adam [Prag] 

1598 

Latin 

D ioscorides, Pedanios, A nazarbeus interpretePet. Andr. 

M atthiolo, cum ejusdem commentariis. 

Mattioli, Bauhin 
[Basileae] 

1.2309 

1598 

Greek & 

nEAAKiOY aioekiaoy. P edaci i D ioscoridis A nazarbaei 

Jani Antonii 

1.2296, 2, 


Latin 

Opera quaeexstant, omnia. Ex nova interpretationejani 
Antonii Saracenii Lugdunaei, medici. 

Saraceni 
[Lugduni & 
Frankfurt am 
Mayn] 

3 

1598 

Latin 

Pedacii D ioscoridis A nazarbei de materia medica libri 
quinque. Ejusdem devenenis libri duo. Interpretejano 
Antonio Sarraceno. 

Jano Antonio 
Sarraceno 
[Frankfurt am 
Mayn] 

1.2312 

1598 

Latin 

Opera, quaeexstant, omnia ; hocest: Commentarii in sex 
libros Pedacii D ioscoridis A nazarbei de medica materia, 
adjectis in margine variis graeci textus lectionibus ex 
antiquissimis codicibus desumtis, qui D ioscoridis depravatam 
lectionem restituunt: nuncaCasparoBauhinopost 
diversarum editionum collationeminfinitis locis aucti. 

Pierandrea 

Mattioli, 

Bauhino 
[Basileae, 
Frankfurt am 
Mayn] 

1.5984, 3, 
4.144 

1598 

Latin 

Petri Andrea M atthioli opera, quae exstant omnia ; hoc 58 est: 
commentarii in sex libros Pedacii D ioscoridis A nazarbei de 
medica materia, adjectis in margine variis graeci textus 
lectionibus ex antiquissimus codicibus desumtis, nunc a 
Casparo Bauhino post diversarum editionum collationem 
infinitis locis aucti. Apologia in Amatum Lusitanum. 

Pierandrea 

Mattioli 

10th ed 
[Basileae] 

1.5985 

1598 

German 

Kreuterbuch des hochgelehrten und weitberuhmten Hr D 

Petri AndreaeM atthioli, jetzt wiederumb mit vielen schonen 
newen Figuren, auch nutzlichen Artzneyen und andern guten 
Stucken zun andern M al aus sondrem Fleiss gemehrtund 
gefertig durch Joachimum Camararium, der loblichen 

R eichsstatt N urnberg M edicum. 

Mattioli, 

Camerarium 

2nd ed 

[Frankfurt am 
Mayn] 

1.5990 

1600 

German 

Kreuterbuch des hochgelehrten und weitberuhmten Hr D 

Petri AndreaeM atthioli, jetzt wiederumb mit vielen schonen 
newen Figuren, auch nutzlichen Artzneyen und andern guten 
Stucken zun andern M al aus sondrem Fleiss gemehrtund 
gefertig durch Joachimum Camararium, der loblichen 

R eichsstatt N urnberg M edicum. 

Mattioli, 

Camerarium 

3rd ed 

[Frankfurt am 
Mayn] 

1.5990, 3 

1603 

Latin 

Appendix ad libros de pi antis: praeter appendicem ad 
peripateticas quaestiones; redit in M useo di pi ante rare di 
Boccone. 

Andrea 

Cesalpini 

[Romae] 

1.1641, 2 

1604 

Italian 

1 discorsi di M Pietro A ndrea M atthiolo ne 1 sei libri della 
materia medicinale di Pedacio D ioscorideA nazarbeo. 

Pierandrea 

Mattioli 

[Venetia] 

3,6 

1605 

French 

LesC ommentaires deM P Andre M atthiolus sur les six livres 
dePedacius D ioscorideA nazarbeen de la matiere medicinale. 
Traduits delatin en franpoispar M . Antoine du Pinet: et 
illustrez de nouveau d'un bon nombrede figures, et 
augmentezen plus demillelieux a la derniere edition de 
I'auteur, tant de plusiers remedes a diverses sortes de 
maladies; queaussi des distillations: commeparaillement dela 
connaissance des simples. 

P Mattioli, 

Pierre Rigaud, 
Antoine du 

Pinet 

[Lyon] 

1.5991, 3 

1605 

Latin 

Dilucidaesimplicium medicamentorum explicationes et 
stirpium adversaria, quibus accessit altera pars cum prioris 
illustrationibus, castigationibus, auctuariis. Impr cum Lobelii 
in G Rondelletii methodicam Pharmaceuticam officinam 
animadversiones. 

Pierre Pena, 
Mathias L'Obel 
[Londini] 

1.7029, 2, 
3, 4.115, 
5.183, 6, 7 

1606 

English 

Dodeon 's brief epitome of the new herbal or history of plants, 
wherein is contained the disposition and true declaration of 
thephysickehelpes of all sorts ofherbes and plants, under 
their names and operations, collected out of the most exquisite 

Rembert 

Dodoens 

[London] 

1.2345 


new herball, first set forth in the D utch or A Imayne tongue, 
translated by Henry Lyte, esquire, and by William Ram, 
gentleman: otherwise cal led Ram 's little Dodeon. 


lxii 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1608 

1610 


1611 


1614 


1616 

1616 

1617 

1618 

1619 

1619 

1620 


Latin Commentarius in tractasus D ioscoridis et Plinii deAmomo. Nicolo Marogna, 1.5818,3 

Ponae 


German 


German 


German 


Latin 


Latin 


Italian 


Dutch 


French 


English 


French 


Krauterbuch des uralten und in aller Welt beruhmtesten 
Griechischen Skribenten Pedacii D ioscoridis A nazarbei, Von 
allerle y wolriechenden Krautern, Gewurtzen, kostlichen Oelen 
und Sal ben, Baumen, Hartzen, Gummi, Getrayt, 
Kochkrautern, scharpffschmackenden Krautern, und andern 
soallein zur A rtzney gehorig, Krauterwein, M etalle, Steinen, 
allerley Erden, affern und jedem Giffi, vi el und mancherley 
Thieren, und derselbigin heylsamen und nutzbaren Stuck. In 
siben sonderbare Bucher unterschieden. Erslich durch 
J oannem D anzium vo A st, der A rtzney D octorem, 
verteutscht, Nun mehrabervon Petro U ffenbach. Wolerfahren 
Wundartztes H ieronymi Braunsschweig zweyen Buchern. 
Kreuterbuch des hochgelehrten und weitberuhmten Hr D 
Petri AndreaeM atthioli.jetzt wiederumb mit vieien schonen 
newen Figuren, auch nutzlichen Artzneyen und andern guten 
Stucken zun andern M al aus sondrem Fleiss gemehrtund 
gefertig durchjoachimum Camararium, der loblichen 
R eichsstatt N urnberg M edicum. 

Krauterbuch des uralten und in aller Welt beruhmtesten 
Griechischen Skribenten Pedacii D ioscoridis A nazarbei, Von 
allerley wolriechenden Krautern, Gewurtzen, kostlichen Oelen 
und Sal ben, Baumen, Hartzen, Gummi, Getrayt, 
Kochkrautern, scharpffschmackenden Krautern, und andern 
soallein zur Artzney gehorig, Krauterwein, M etalle, Steinen, 
allerley Erden, affern und jedem Gifft, viel und mancherley 
Thieren, und derselbigin heylsamen und nutzbaren Stuck. In 
siben sonderbare Bucher unterschieden. Erslich durch 
J oannem D anzium vo A st, der A rtzney D octorem, 
verteutscht, Nun mehrabervon Petro U ffenbach. Wolerfahren 
Wundartztes H ieronymi Braunsschweig zweyen Buchern. 

M inus cognitarum rariorumque nostro coeio orientium 
stirpium in qua non paucaeab antiquioribusTheophrasto, 
Dioscoride, Plinio, Galenoaliisquedescriptae, praeter i I las 
etiam editas disquiruntur. Omnia fideliter ad vivum delineata 
atque aenei's typis expressa. 

Stirpium historiaepemptades sex sivelibri XXX . Varieab 
auctore, paullo ante mortem, aucti & emendati. 

C ommentarius in tractasus D ioscoridis et Plinii deAmomo. 


[Basileae] 

Ast, Uffenbach, 1.2322 
Braunsschweig 
[Frankfurt am 
Mayn] 


Mattioli, 1.5990, 3 

Camerarium 

4th ed 

[Frankfurt am 
Mayn] 

Ast, Uffenbach, 1.2322 
Braunsschweig 
[Frankfurt am 
Mayn] 


Fabio Colonna 1.1823, 7 
[Rornae] 


Rembert 1.2350, 2, 

Dodoens 3, 4.163, 

[Antwerpiae] 5.201, 6 

Nicolo Marogna, 1.5818 
Giovanni Pona 


[Venezia] 

Cruydeboeck in den welcken diegheheelehistoriedat es Rembert 1.2345, 3 

tgheslacht, tfatsoen, naem natuere, cracht ende werckingghe Dodoens 

van den cruyden, niet alleen hier telandewassende, maer oock [Leyden] 

van den anderen vremden in der medecijnen 

oorboorlijck..ghesfelt; volgens seine laeste verheteringe. 

Les Commentaires deM P Andre M atthiolus sur les six livres PMattioli, 3 
dePedacius Dioscoride Anazarbeen de la matiere medicinale. Antoine du 
T raduits de latin en francois par M Antoine du Pi net. Pinet 


[Lyon] 

A new herbal, or historieof plants; wherein is contained the Rembert 1.2345,2, 

whole discourse and perfect description of all sorts of herbes Dodoens 3,4.167,6 

and plants. First set forth in theDutch or Almaignetongue, [London] 

by that learned D R embert D odoens, now first translated out 

of French into English by Henry Lyte Esquire. Corrected and 

amended. 


Les Commentaires deM P AndreM atthiolus sur les six livres PMattioli, 3 
dePedacius D ioscoride Anazarbeen de la matiere medicinale. Antoine du 
T raduits de latin en francois par M Antoine du Pinet. Pinet 


[Lyon] 


lxiii 



PRINTED BOOKS 


1623 

1623 

1626 

1627 

1628 

1628 

1636 

1644 

1645 

1655 

1655 

1671 

1674 


Italian 

Del vero balsamo degli antichi. Commentario sopra I'historia Giovanni Pona 
di Dioscoride, na qualesi prova, chesolo I'opobalsamo arabico [Venetia] 
e il iegitimo, es'esclude ogn 'altro licore abbacciato sotto ii 
nomedi balsamo. 

1.7261 

Latin 

Pinax theatri botanici, siveindex in Theophrasti, Dioscoridis, 
Piinii et botanicorumqui a saeculo scripserunt, opera: 
plantarum circiter sex millium ab ipsis exhibitarum nomlna 
cum earundem synonymiis et differentiis methodicesecundum 
earum et genera et species proponens. 0 pus X L annorum 
hactenus non editum summopereexpetitum et ad auctores 
intelligendos plurimum. 

Kaspar Bauhin 
[Basiliae] 

1.509, 7 

German 

Kreuterbuch des hochgelehrten und weitberuhmten Hr D Mattioli, 

Petri AndreaeM atthioli, jetzt wiederumb mit vielen schonen Camerarium 
newen Figuren, auch nutzlichen Artzneyen und andern guten 5th e d 

Stucken zun andern M al aus sondrem Fleiss gemehrtund rFrankfurt am 

gefertig durchjoachimum Camararium, der loblichen i, , 

Reichsstatt N urnberg M edicum. aynJ 

1.5990, 3, 
5.210 

French 

LesC ommentaires deM P Andre M atthiolus sur les six livres 
dePedacius D ioscorideA nazarbeen de la matiere medicinale. 
Traduits delatin en francoispar M Antoinedu Pinet. 

P Mattioli, 
Antoine du 
Pinet 
[Lyon] 

3 

French 

Les oeuvres divisees en cinq traictez. 1. Les com men fair es sur 
Dioscoride. 

Jacques & 

Paul Contant 
[Poictiers] 

1.1850, 

4.177 

French 

Les divers exercices dejacques et Paul Contant pereet fils, 
maistres apoticaires dela villedePoictiers, ou sont esclaircis 
et resouldz plusiers doudtes qui serencontrent en quelques 
chapitres deDiosocride&qui ont travaille plusiers interpretes 
composez par ledit Jacques et recuillies, receus, augmentez et 
misen bon ordrepar ledit Paul, pour servir decommentaire 
aus simples ascriptz dans son poesme intitule: lesecond Eden. 

Paul Contant 
[Poictiers] 

1.1851 

Spanish 

P edacio D ioscorides A nazarbeo A cerca de la materia medicinal 
y delos venenos mortiferos. Traducido delengua griega en la 
vulgar caste/ 1 ana y illustrado con Claras y substan dales 
annotationes y con las figuras deinnumeras plantas 
exquisitasy raraspor el Doctor Andres de Laguna, M edicode 
Julio III Pont M ax. 

Andres de 
Laguna 

7th ed 
[Valencia] 

1.2313, 3 

Dutch 

Cruydeboeck in den welcken diegheheelehistoriedat es 
tgheslacht, tfatsoen, naem natuere, cracht ende werckingghe 
van den cruyden, niet alleen hier te lande wassende, maer oock 
van den anderen vremden in der medecijnen oorboorlijck ... 
ghesfelt; volgens seine laeste verheteringe. 

Rembert 

Dodoens 

[Antwerpen] 

1.2345, 3 

Italian 

1 discorsi di M Pietro A ndrea M atthiolo ne 1 sei libri della 
materia medicinale di P edacio D ioscorideA nazarbeo. 

Pierandrea 

Mattioli 

[Venetia] 

3 

French 

LesC ommentaires deM P Andre M atthiolus sur les six livres 
dePedacius D ioscorideA nazarbeen de la matiere medicinale. 
Traduits delatin en francoispar M Antoinedu Pinet. 

P Mattioli, 
Antoine du 
Pinet 
[Lyon] 

3 

Latin 

Stirpium illustrationes. Plurimas elaborantes inauditas 
plantas, subreptiliisjoannis Parkinsoni rhapsodiis e codice 
manuscripto insalutato sparsim gravatae. 

Matthias 

Lobelius 

[Londini] 

1.5550 

Latin 

Pinax theatri botanici, siveindex in Theophrasti, Dioscoridis, 
Piinii et botanicorumqui a saeculo scripserunt, opera: 
plantarum circiter sex millium ab ipsis exhibitarum nomina 
cum earundem synonymiis et differentiis methodicesecundum 
earum et genera et species proponens. 0 pus X L annorum 
hactenus non editum summopereexpetitum et ad auctores 
intelligendos plurimum. 

Kaspar Bauhin 
[Basiliae] 

1.509, 7 

Latin 

Opera, quaeexstant, omnia; hocest: Commentarii in sex 
libros Pedacii D ioscoridis A nazarbei de medica materia, 
adjectis in margine variis graeci textus lectionibus ex 
antiquissimis codicibus desumtis, qui D ioscoridis depravatam 
lection em restituunt: nunc a C asparo Bauhino post 
diversarum editionum collationeminfinitis locis aucti. 

Pierandrea 

Mattioli, 

Bauhino 

[Basileae] 

1.5984, 3, 
5.332, 6 


lxiv 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1674 


1674 

1677 


1678 


1680 


1695 


1714 


1733 


1744 


1751 


1752 


Latin 


Latin 


Spanish 


German 


French 


Spanish 


Latin & 
German 


Spanish 


Latin 


Latin 


Spanish 


Petri Andrea M atthioli opera, quaeexstant omnia ; hoc 58 est: 
commentarii in sex libros Pedacii D ioscoridisAnazarbei de 
medica materia, adjectisin marginevariis graeci textus 
lectionibus ex antiquissimus codicibus desumtis, nunc a 
Casparo Bauhino post diversarum editionum collationem 
infinitis iocis aucti. A pologia in A matum L usitanum. 

A pologia adversus A matum L usitanum cum censura in 
ejusdem enarrationes. 

P edacio D ioscorides Anazarbeo, A cerca de la materia 
medicinal y delos venenos mortiferos. Traducido deiengua 
griega en la vulgar castellana y illustrado con Claras y 
substantiates annotationesy con las figuras deinnumeras 
plantas exquisitas y raras por el D odor Andres de L aguna, 

M edico dejulio III Pont M ax. 

Kreuterbuch des hochgelehrten und weitberuhmten Hr D 
Petri AndreaeM atthioli, jetzt wiederumb mit vieien schonen 
newen Figuren, auch nutzlichen Artzneyen und andern guten 
Stucken zun andern M al aus sondrem Fleiss gemehrtund 
gefertig durchjoachimum Camararium, der loblichen 
R eichsstatt N urnberg M edicum. 

LesCommentaires deM . P. Andre M atthiole, medecin seinois, 
sur les six l/vres de la matiere medicinale dePedacius 
D ioscorideAnazarbeen. Traduitsdelatin en franpoispar 
Antoinedu Pi net: et enriches de nouveau d'un n ombre 
considerable de figures ; et augmentez tant de plusiers remedes 
a di verses sortes de maladies; com aussi d'un traite de chymie 
en abregepour I'analysetant des vegetaux quedequeiques 
animaux et mineraux, par en D octeur en medecine. D erniere 
edition, revue, corrigeeet misedans un meilleur language 
avec deux tables latine et franpoise. 

P edacio D ioscorides A nazarbeo A cerca de la materia medicinal 
y delos venenos mortiferos. Traducido deiengua griega en la 
vulgar castellana y illustrado con Claras y substantiates 
annotationesy con las figuras deinnumeras plantas 
exquisitas y raras por el D odor A ndres de L aguna, M edico de 
Julio III Pont M ax. 

Botanologia medica, seu dilucida et brevis manududio ad 
plantarum et stirpium ... in officinis pharmaceutis 
usitatarum. Kurseanweisung, wiediejenigen krauter und 
gewachse, welzein der artzney gebrauchlich und in den 
apotheken befindlich, nutzen..angeivend. 

P edacio D ioscorides A nazarbeo A cerca de la materia medicinal 
y delos venenos mortiferos. Traducido deiengua griega en la 
vulgar castellana y illustrado con Claras y substantiates 
annotationesy con las figuras deinnumeras plantas 
exquisitas y raras por el D odor A ndres de L aguna, M edico de 
Julio III Pont M ax. 

Petri Andrea M atthioli opera, quaeexstant omnia ; hoc 58 est: 
commentarii in sex libros Pedacii D ioscoridisAnazarbei de 
medica materia, adjedisin marginevariis graeci textus 
lectionibus ex antiquissimus codicibus desumtis, nunc a 
Casparo Bauhino post diversarum editionum collationem 
infinitis Iocis audi. A pologia in A matum L usitanum. 

Stirpium descriptionis liber quintus, qua in Italia sibi visas 
describit in praecedentibus vel omnino intatas vel non poluit. 
Demorboetobitu Valerii Cordi epistola H ieronymi Schreiberi 
N orimbergensis. 

P edacio D ioscorides A nazarbeo A cerca de la materia medicinal 
y delos venenos mortiferos. Traducido deiengua griega en la 
vulgar castellana y illustrado con Claras y substantiales 
annotationesy con las figuras deinnumeras plantas 
exquisitas y raras por el D odor A ndres de L aguna, M edico de 
Julio III Pont M ax. 


Mattioli,Lusitan 
um, Bauhin 
11th ed 
[Basileae] 


Mattioli, 

Lusitanum 

[Basileae] 

Andres de 

Laguna 

8th ed 

[Valencia] 


Mattioli, 
Camerarium 
6th ed 

[Frankfurt am 
Mayn] 

Pierandrea 
Mattioli, 
Antoine du 
Pinet 
[Lyon] 


Andres de 
Laguna 9th ed 
[Madrid] 


Bartholomaeus 

Zorn 

[Berlin] 


Laguna, 
Matthioli 10 th 
ed 

[Madrid] 


Pierandrea 
Mattioli 
12th ed 
[Basileae] 


Cordus, 

Schreiberi, 

Crucigeri 

[Norimbergae] 

Andres de 

Laguna 11th ed 

[Madrid] 


1.5985 


3 

1.2313 


1.5990, 3 


1.5991, 3 


1.2313 


1.10506 


1.2313 


1.5985 


1.1885, 2 


1.2313 


lxv 



PRINTED BOOKS 


1779 

Latin & 

leones plantarum medicinalium. A bbildungen von 

Johann Zorn, 

1.10507, : 

-1784 

German 

arzneigewachsen. [5 volumes]. 

D L Oskamp, 

J C Krauss 
[Nurnberg] 

3 

1784 

-1790 

Latin & 
German 

leones plantarum medicinalium. A bbildungen von 
arzneigewachsen. Zweiteaufl age [enlarged, 6 volumes]. 

Johann Zorn, 

D L Oskamp, 

J C Krauss 
[Nurnberg] 

1.10507 

1794 

-1801 

Latin & 
Dutch 

A fbeeldingen der artseny-gewassen met derzelver 

N ederduitscher en Latynschebeschryvingen. [6 volumes]. 

Johann Zorn, 

D L Oskamp, 

J C Krauss 
[Amsterdam] 

4.639 

1806 

-1813 

Latin 

Florae graecaeProdromus: siveplantarum omnium 
enumeratio, quasin provinciis aut insulis Graeciaeinvenit 
Johannes Sibthorp ... Characteres et synonyma omnium cum 
annotation! bus el aboravit Jacobus E dvardus Smith. 

John Sibthorp, 
James E Smith 
[Londini] 

1.8659, 2, 
3 

1806 

-1840 

Latin 

Flora graeca: siveplantarum rariorum historia, quas in 
provinciis aut insulis G raeciae legit, investigavit et depingi 
curavit Johannes Sibthorp. Flicillicetiam insertaesupauculae 
species, quas vir idem clarissimus, Graeciam verso navigans, 
in itinerepraesertim apud 1 tali am et Siciliam, it venerit. [10 
volumes] 

John Sibthorp, 
James E Smith 
[Londini] 

1.8660, 2 

1821 

Czech 

Catalogus plantarum ad septem i /arias editiones 
commentariorum M athioli in Dioscoridem adLinnaeani 
systematis regulas el aboravit 

Mattioli, 1.5993, 

K M v Sternberg 1.8957, 2, 
[Pragae] 3 

1829 

Greek & 

Pedanii D ioscoridisAnazarbei demateria medica libri 

Curtius Sprengel 1.2297, 

-1830 

Latin 

quinque. Ad fidem codicum manuscriptorum, editionis 
Aldinae principis usquequaqueneglectae, et interpretum 
priscorum textum recensuit, varias addidit lectiones, 
interpretationem emendavit, commentario illustravit Curtius 
Sprengel. 

[Lipsiae] 

4.968, 6 

1844 

Italian 

D i Pedacio D ioscorideAnazarbeo libri cincqe della historia et 
materia medicinale tradotti in lingua volgare italiana da M 
Pietro Andrea M attioli (M atthiolo?) SaneseM edico. Con 
amplissimi Discorsi, et commend, et Doth ssi me annotation'! 
et censure del medesimo interprete. 

Mattioli, 

Giuseppe 

Moretti 

[Milano] 

1.2316 

1902 

German 

D es Pedianos D ioskurides aus A nazarbos arzneimittellehre in 
funfbuchern... ubersetzt... von J Berendes [plant 
identifications annot]. 

Julius Berendes 
[Stuttgart] 

8.13, 7 

1906 

Latin 

Dioskurides. Codex Aniciaejulianaepicturis illustratus, nunc Josef von 
Vindobonensis. Med. Gr. Iphototypiceeditus. Prefaces by A de Karabacek 
Premerstein, Karl Wessely and Josef M antuani. 2 volumes. [Lugduni, 

Batavorum, 

Leiden] 

7 

1906 

-1914 

Greek 

Pedanii D ioscuridisAnazarbei demateria medica libri 
quinque, ed M Wellmann, 3 vols [the critical Greek text]. 

Max Wellmann 
[Berlin] 

7, 8.13 
9.19 

1906 

-1907 

Greek 

D ie schrift des D ioskurides: nepi anXav pappaKcov... 

Max Wellmann 
[Berlin] 

9.45 

1906 

Greek & 
Latin 

Codex Vindobonensis in codices graeci et ladni: Facsimile, 
cur. Scatone deVries, volumelO. 

Scatone de Vries 
[Leiden] 

8.14 

1934 

English 

TheG reek herbal of D ioscorides, illustrated by a Byzantine 
AD512. Englished by John Goodyer AD 1655. 

John Goodyer, 

R T Gunther 
[Oxford] 

3, 

5.Appl2 

1935 

Latin 

Pedanii D ioscuridisAnazarbei demateria medica libri VII 
accedunt N icandri et Eutecni opuscula medica. Codex 
Constantinopolitanus saeculoX exaratus et Picturis olim 

M anuelis Eugenici Caroli Rinuccini Florentini, Thomae 
PhillippsAngli nunc inter Thesauros PM Bibliothecae 
asservatus. 2 vols. Photographic edition. 

Pierpont 

Morgan 

[Paris] 

7, 8.27 

1957 

Spanish 

L a version arabe de la 'M ateria medica' de D ioscorides (texto, 
variantes e indices), E studio dela transcripcion delos 
nombres griegos al arabey comparacion delas versiones 
griega, arabey castellana. In Dubler, CE, La materia medica 
de D ioscorides T ransmision medieval y renacen tista 
(1953-1959), volume2 of 6 volumes. 

Cesar E Dubler 
and Elias Teres. 
2nd ed 
[Barcelona] 

7 


lxvi 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1959 

English 

The Greek herbal ofDioscorides, illustrated by a Byzantine 
AD512. Englished by John Goodyer AD1655, edited and first 
printed AD 1933. 

John Goodyer, 
RT Gunther 
reprint 
[New York] 

3, 

5.Appl2, 

7 

1965 

-1970 

Greek 

Codex Vindobonensis medicusGraecus 1 der Osterreichischen 
N ationalbibliothek. 5 vols, colour facsimile; 1 vol commentary. 

Hans Gerstinger 
(Graz) 

3,7 

1968 

Latin 

Codex Aniciaejulianaepicturis illustratis 512 ... (complete 
facsimile edition oftheViennaDioskurides). Partsl-lll. 

Dioskurides 

Facsimile 

[Graz] 

3 

1970 

2000 

Spanish 

English 

E 1 D ioscori des Ren ovado 

D ioscori des de materia medica, being a herbal with many 
other materials written in G reek in the first century of the 
common era. An indexed version in modern English. 

[Barcelona] 

TA Osbaldeston, 
RPA Wood 
[Johannesburg] 

10 


NOTE: SPELLING 

At the time most of the abovementioned books were written spelling tended to be variable. Spelling of 
proper names depended upon the language used. The list of printed books uses the spelling found in 
the first reference consulted for each entry. 


References for printed books 


1 Pritzel, GA. T hesaurus LiteraturaeBotanicae, Brockhaus, Leipzig 1872. 

2 Jackson, BD. Guide to the Literature of Botany, Hafner Publishing Company, New 
York 1964; facsimile of 1881 edition. 

3 Hall, EC. Printed Books 1481-1900, The H orticultural Society of New York, The 
Horticultural Society of New York, New York 1970. 

4 Johnston, SH. TheCleveland Herbal, Botanical, and H orticultural Collections, pre-1830 
works, The Kent State University Press, Kent, Ohio 1992. 

5 Quinby ,J. Catalogue of Botanical Books in TheCollection of Rachel M cM asters M iller 
H unt, Volume I, Printed Books 1477-1700, The Hunt Botanical Library, Pittsburgh 
1958. 

6 The Royal Horticultural Society, The Lindley Library, Catalogue of Books, Pamphlets, 

M anuscripts and D rawings, London 1927. 

7 Greene, Edward Lee. Landmarks of Botanical H i story, 2 volumes, Stanford 
University Press, Stanford 1983. 

8 Nissen, Claus. H erbals of five centuries, translated by Werner Bodenheimer and A 
Rosenthal, L'Art Ancien, Zurich, Robert Wolfe, Munich, Weiss-Hesse, Olten, 1958. 

9 Singer, Charles Joseph. 'The herbal in antiquity and its transmission to later ages', 
in Journal ofH eilenic Studies, vol 47, 1927, ppl-52 & 10 col plates. 

10 Anderson, Frank J. An illustrated history of the herbal s, Columbia University Press, 
New York 1912. 


lxvii 


GAZETTEER OF DIOSCORIDES' WORLD 



Valeriana rigida 

from ENGLER-PRANTL 
— 1897 


GAZETTEER OF 
DIOSCORIDES' WORLD 


ACREAS — A ere in Israel, a large bay on the south Levant coast and main 
port for G alilee, the H auran and D amascus; known as Ptolemais to the Romans, 
a part of the Seleucid Empire. 

ADRIA — a town in Italy between R avenna and Venice, at the mouths of 
the river Po. 

ADRIATIC, ADRIATIC COAST — the sea between Italy, Yugoslavia and 
Albania, a portion of the Mediterranean, from the Gulfs of T rieste and Venice 
in the northwest to the Strait of 0 tranto in the southeast, where it connects to 
the Ionian Sea. 

AEGIS AETOLIA — A egae (V erg in a) is a town in north Pieria overlooking 
the coastal plain of Macedonia. A etoiia (/A itoiia), a federation of rural cantons 
in west-central Greece, lay north of the Gulf of Corinth, with Arcarnania to 
the west, D olopians in the north, and A enis, M alis D oris and 0 zolian L ocris to 
the east. 

AFRICA, AFRICAN — originally this was the coastal plain of today's 
Tunisia, N umidia being inland. At the height of the Roman Empire, Africa 
was regarded as all of the African continent bordering the Mediterranean 
Sea. Sometimes indicating A ethiopia (Abyssinia). 

AGARIA, in the SARMATIAN (country) — the A gar i were a Scythian people 
of Sarmat/a Europaea, on the shore of the Palus M aeotis (Sea of Azov). They 
were skilled in medicine. Sarmatia, in southern Russia between the Caucasus 
and the Danube, is now called Scythia. In Dioscorides' time Scythia was the 
country south of the Danube delta in modern Romania now called the 
Dobruja. Its inhabitants were the Scythae or Scythians. After 395CE the 
northern province of the diocese of Thrace in Greece was called Scythia. 
Pontus was on the southern shore of the Black Sea. 

AGRIGENTO — a city and province of southern Sicily, with P aiermo to the 
northwest. 

ALBANIA — the smallest country of the Balkan Peninsula in southeast 
Europe; Yugoslavia is to the north and northeast, Greece to the south and 
southeast, and the Adriatic Sea is on the west. The people are descended 
from Illyrians and Thracians. 

ALEXANDRIA — an Egyptian seaport on the Mediterranean; west of the 
Canopic mouth of the Nile River; northwest of Cairo; seat of the Roman 
prefecture of Egypt; its original site protected by Pharos Island and the Pharos 
lighthouse; one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. 

ALIARTUS, in BOEOTIA — H aliartus was an ancient town in B oeotia on the 
South of Lake C opais. B oeotia, is a district of Greece to the northeast of C orin th, 
the Copaic Basin is in the north, the Ismenian Plain in the south. Thebes, 
named after the Egyptian town, is its main city; A ttica is to the south. 

ALPS — a mountain range in Europe from the Apennines of the Italian 
Peninsula, to the Carpathians and the Dinarics. Used to indicate habitat 
rather than position at times. 

AMANUS, a hill in Cilicia — the Amanus-Lebanon Mountains, in the 
northeast Mediterranean Levant, near / sken derun, Turkey. 

AMELUM — A melia, or A meria, is a city in Umbria, Italy. 

AMINAEAN — A minios was the name of a rivulet near the hill city of 
T hon i ka, in Parassi a. 

ANDROS ISLAND — a large island of the Cyclades group in the A egean 
Sea, divided from E uboea by the D oro Channel, with the city of A ndros on its 
west coast and the port of G aurion for a harbour. It was first occupied by the 
Ionians, and in 1832 became a Greek territory. 


lxviii 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


ANTICYRA — more anciently Anticirra, a town in Phocis, its harbour on 
the Crissaean gulf was called Cyparissus. Also a town in Thessaly, on the 
Spercheus River. 

APOLLONIA, near EPIDAMNUS — Apollonia, a former Corinthian colony, 
now a ruin near the coast of the Adriatic Sea in Albania; north of this was 
Epidamnus, another Corinthian colony. 

APULIA — an Italian district on the lower Adriatic coast from the M onte 
G argano Promontory, southeast to the tip of the Salentine Peninsula. 

ARABIA, ARABIA PETRAEA — Arabia is the peninsula of the southwest 
portion of Asia. To the north flows the Euphrates to Dar az-Zur, then the 
border goes southwest through Pal my ra to Damascus, and south to the Gulf 
of A qaba. The northwest, called A rabia Petraea, means Rocky Arabia. 

ARCADIA — an elevated plateau surrounded by mountains in the 
Pdoponnesos to the south of Greece. Roman poets considered Arcadian 
shepherds an ideal of virtue and innocence. 

arguritidi — Argura in Thessaly, Greece, was a city of Pe/asgiotis, and 
possibly Homer's A rgissa. 

ARMENIA — an area including the centre of Russian Transcaucasia and 
Turkish Armenia. In ancient times Armenia included eight Turkish districts 
(vilayets). The populace were Khaldians, Phrygians and Cimmerians. 

ASCALON — a city in Phi list/ a, now part of Israel. 

ASIA — the largest continent. 

ASIA MINOR — the westernmost peninsula of Asia, also known as 
A natolia, part of modern Turkey. 

astypalaea — A stypalaea or A stipalaia (A stipal ea) is one of the fifty Greek 
islands of the Dodecanese in the A egean Sea off the coast of southwest Asia 
Minor. 

ATHENS, ATHINAI, ATHENIAN — the most important city of ancient 
Greece, on the Plain of A ttica; the surrounding mountains are H ymettus to 
the east. Pen teli kon to the northeast, and Parnis to the north; to the south and 
west the plain opens on the Saronic Gulf. 

ATTICA, ATTIC — the area around Athens in central Greece; the 
peninsula between the Gulf of E uboea and the Saronic Gulf, with B oeotia to 
the northwest, and the M egarid to the southwest. 

BABYLON, BABYLONIA, ASSYRIA, SUMER — Babylonia occupied the 
Tigris-E uphrates plain from modern Baghdad in the northwest to the Persian 
Gulf in the southeast. Previously the area to the southeast was Sumer, and 
that to the northwest, A kkad. Assyria was north of Babylon along the upper 
Tigris and the Great and Little Zab rivers; its modern neighbours would be 
Iran, Turkey and Syria. Iraq north of the Euphrates includes most of 
Babylonia and Assyria. Babylon, the ancient capital of Babylonia, was on the 
banks of the E uphrates River, south of Baghdad. Its old Semitic name was 
Bab-ilu, 'gate of God', which became Babel in Hebrew. Babylon had entered 
its long decline well before the time of Dioscorides. 

BALEARES — the Balearic islands in the western Mediterranean, 
belonging to Spain, an archipelago of fifteen islands, reputedly the 'magic 
isles' of the Hesperides. 

BARBARIAN — primitive alien, foreigner, not Greek or Aryan. Barbary is 
the region of north Africa from Egypt to the Atlantic coast, including the 
modern states of Morocco, Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli. 

BENGAL — a flat area drained by the extensive Ganges-Brahmaputra 
river systems from the foothills of the Himalayas to the coast of the Bay of 
Bengal. Today the east is Bangladesh, and the west is part of India. 

BESSLAN — the Bessians were a fierce and powerful Thracian people 
living on Mount H almus as far as E uxene. 

BITHYNIA — a territory in northwest Asia Minor, from south of the Sea of 
M armara to the Bithynian Mount Olympus (Ulu D ag), west to M ysia, and east 
to H erakla'a Pontica and Paphlagonia. 


lxix 



GAZETTEER OF DIOSCORIDES' WORLD 


BOEOTIA, BOEOTICAN — a district of Greece to the northeast of Corinth; 
the Copaic Basin is to the north, the Ismenian Plain to the south. Thebes, 
named after the Egyptian town, is its primary city; A ttica forms the southern 
border. It is now known as Voiotia. 

BOSPORUS — a strait connecting the northeast Black Sea with the 
southwest Sea of Marmara. It separates European Turkey and Istanbul from 
Asiatic Turkey and U skudar. Bosporus meaning 'ox ford', was named after 
the goddess Io. It is twenty miles long, with turbulent water and strong 
conflicting currents. 

BRITTANY — the Armorican peninsula of northwest France on the 
Atlantic coast, home to Celtic tribes. 

brutia — Bruttium, Bruttius, Bruttiorum ager, also Brutii, is the southern 
extremity of Italy. 

BUNI - The Buni were the race of the Liburni, later called Illyrians, 
dwelling between the A rsa and the T ityus River, on the northeast coast of the 
Adriatic. 

CAMPANIA around NOLA — this is an area on the west coast of the Italian 
peninsula along the Tyrrhenian Sea, with the Garigliano River to the north 
and the Gulf of Poll castro to the south. It extends inland to the Apennines. 
Ager Campanus was the plain behind Naples. Mount Vesuvius is on the 
coastal plain, and N ola is a city on the plain. 

CANOPUS — Canobus, Canopus, an important city on the coast of lower 
Egypt near the western mouth of the Nile. 

CAPPADOCIA — a region in Asia Minor between Lake T atta and the 
Euphrates. The northern part became P on tus ( qv ). The Taurus and Antitaurus 
mountain ranges are in the southeast. 

CARIA — an ancient country in southwest Asia Minor, with the A egean 
Sea to the south and southwest, Ionia and Lydia to the north, and Lycia and 
Phrygia to the east, and including the islands of Rhodes and Cos. The 
mainland now belongs to Turkey. 

CARTHAGE, NEW CARTHAGE, CARTHAGO NOVA, CARTAGENA — city and 
nation, originally the Phoenician colony of T yre, on the east coast of modern 
Tunisia, called Q art hahasht in Semitic, meaning 'new town'. Tunis is situated 
almost on the city of ancient C arthage, and Tunisia is essentially the territory 
of Carthage. Cartagena, the greatest Carthaginian stronghold in Spain, is 
southeast of Madrid in Spain. This port has a beautiful natural harbour. 

CELTS, CELTIC — Celtae, Galatae, Galli. Used for people of northern and 
western Europe who were not Iberian; later the Germans were considered 
distinct. Celtic is an Indo-European language, still spoken in areas of Wales 
and Ireland. 

CENTURIPINUM — an ancient town of the Siculi in Sicily at the foot of 
Mount A etna, on the road from C atana to Panormus. 

CERAUNIAN MOUNTAINS — also known as the Taurus, Moschic, 
Amazonian, Caspian, Coraxic, or Caucasus. 

CHALCEDON — a town in northwest Asia Minor on Bithynia, the 
peninsula between the Black Sea and the Sea of M armara. 

CHALCIS — a town on the Greek island of E uboea. 

CHARACIAN — Charax was the name given to several small cities, 
originally military stations, the most remarkable at the mouth of the Tigris 
River. 

CHELIDONIA — Chelidonia insulae, five small islands off the promontory 
H eira or C helidonia on the south coast of Lycia. 

CHIOS (Isle of), CHIAN [from Scios in the A egean sea] — a Greek island in 
the Aegean Sea near the central west coast of Asia Minor. Khios on the east 
coast is the capital. It was settled by Ionians. 

CILICIA (near Gentias in Cilicia) — a region of southeast Asia Minor 
between Pamphylia and Syria, from the coast to Mount Taurus. The great 
highway of Asia Minor passed through the coastal province of C Hid a T rachea 
and the inland plain C ilicia P edias. In the time of Dioscorides it was part of the 
Roman province of Syria-C ilicia-Phoenice. Also known as Little Armenia, it is 


lxx 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


now part of Turkey. The Cilician Gates (Kulak Bughaz in Turkish), a pass 
through the Taurus Mountains, connects Konya in the Anatolian Plateau 
with T arsus and A dan a in the Cilician Plain. G entias is otherwise unknown. 

cimolia — Cimolis, Cimolos, Kimolos, or Argentine, an island in the 
Agean Sea, one of the Cyclades, between Siphnos and M el os. 

CO — possibly Cos, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea off the southwest 
coast of Caria in Asia Minor; one of the Sporades Islands, settled by Dorians 
from the Argolid northwest of the Peloponnesus Peninsula; the centre for the 
school of medicine founded by Hippocrates. 

COLCHIS, COLCHIDICEN, COLCHOS — Colchis, now named Vaniis, is on 
the Black Sea in Georgia, south of the Caucasus Mountains, in the delta of 
the Phasis River (R ionl). Jason and the Argonauts undertook the voyage from 
I olcus in T hessaly (1/ o/os) in 1280BCE to search for the Golden Fleece at C olchls. 
Up to the 1930's, fleece were gilded by pegging out sheepskins in the rivers 
originating in the Caucasus, to gather gold particles. 

COLOPHON — a town in Ionia, Asia Minor, north of £ phesus and south of 
Smyrna. 

COMAGENO — Commagene is the northeast district of Syria, and part of 
the Greek kingdom of Syria. 

COON — possibly C oos, C os, K os, one of the Sporades Islands. 

CORINTH — a Greek town on the Isthmus of Corinth which separates 
Peloponnesos from the rest of Greece. 

CORYCIA — on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, near the Corinthian Gulf, 
hosted the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. The Corycean cave was 
dedicated to Pan and the Nymphs, with nocturnal dancing and wild 
bacchanalean orgies. 

CRETE, CRETA, CRETAN — the largest Greek island in the A egean Sea, 
south of Athens and the Dardanelles Straits (see Mount Ida). 

CUMAE — city in Campania, Italy, west of Naples. 

CYCLADES, KIKLADHES, CYCLADEAN ISLANDS — a large group of islands 
in the A egean sea off the southeast coast of Greece, with a circular distribution 
around Delos. Larger islands include Naxos, Andros, Tinos, Paros, Siros, 
Mykonos and Santorini (Thera). 

cyparissian — Cyparissus, a small town in Phocis on Parnassus near 
Delphi. 

CYPRUS, CYPRIOTE, CYPRIAN — a large island in the eastern 
Mediterranean, south of the Turkish province of C Hid a; mostly Greek, partly 
Turkish. 

CYRENAICA — the northeast province of Libya. 

CYRENE — chief population centre of Cyrenaica, inland from the port of 
A pol Ionia. 

CYZICUM, CYZICENIAN — Cyzicus was a Greek city in Phrygia, Asia 
Minor, on the southern shore of Propontis (Sea of M armara). 

DACIA — the Transylvanian plateau with the Danube River and the 
Carpathian mountains to the east and south; now central Romania. 
Occupied by Thracians, Scythians from south Russia, Celts, and others, who 
spoke a Latin dialect eventuating in Romanian. D ad a is today the northwest 
portion of Bulgaria. 

DICAEARCHIA — founded by Greeks from Samos as D ikaiarchia, and 
named Puteoli by the Romans. Today it is Pozzuoli, a city in Naples province, 
Campania, Italy, on a promontory in the Gulf of Pozzuoli. 

DAMASCUS — capital of Syria and of the province of Damascus (Esh 
Sham or D imashq in Arabic) in southwest Syria, on the Barada River and the 
eastern side of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains; southeast of Beirut, Lebanon, 
and the Mediterranean Sea; one of the first permanent cities in the Middle 
East. 

EGYPT — a country at the northeast part of Africa, surrounded by the 
Mediterranean Sea, Israel, the Red Sea, the Sudan, and Libya. 


lxxi 



GAZETTEER OF DIOSCORIDES' WORLD 


ELIS, in ACHAIA — Elis, a city in the province of the same name, in 
classical Greece, was west of A r cadi a, south of A chaea and north of M essenia, 
with its coastline along the Sicilian Sea. A chaea is a province south of the Gulf 
of Corinth. E Us was not in A chaea. 

ENNA, in Sicily — Enna, formerly called C astrogiovanni, and even earlier 
U mbilicus Siciliae, is a province and capital city in central Sicily, south of 
Palermo and west of C atari i a. It has the highest elevation of any Sicilian city. 

EPHESUS, EPHESIAN — a city in Asia Minor settled by Ionians, at the 
mouth of the Cayster River, south of Smyrna (now Izmir). The Temple of 
Artemis and its successor the Temple of Diana, one of the seven wonders of 
the ancient world, was here. 

ERETRIA — a city in the Greek province of £ uboea, north of the Euboean 
Gulf, with B oeotia and A ttica to the south on the Gulf. 

ETHIOPIA — also known as Abyssinia or Aethiopia; an empire in 
northeast Africa founded by Semitic immigrants from southern Arabia. 

ETRURIA, HETRURIA, TYRRHENIA, THUSCANS, TUSCANY — Etruria, a 
territory in northwest Italy, had Cispadane Gaul to the north, Umbria to the 
east, and Latium to the south. The Tyrrhenian Sea is part of the 
Mediterranean, and Etruria's western boundary. The Etruscans were 
Tyrrhenians to the Greeks, and T usd or £ trusci to the Romans. They were 
possibly Lydian settlers who merged with local Umbrians. At one time their 
influence extended across the Apennines to the foothills of the Alps, and 
south to Naples and Rome. The Etruscans were incorporated into Rome. 

EUBOEA — an island on the east central coast of the Greek peninsula. 
The second largest A egean island, now £ vvoi. 

GAGAS, river mouth — Gagae, a town on the coast of Lycia, east of M yra, 
and the source of gagate, or jet, stone. 

GALATIA, in Asia — region of Asia Minor, a portion of Phrygia with 
Bithynia and Paphlagonia to the north, Lycaonia and Cappadocia to the south, 
Pontus on the east and the remainder of P hrygia to the west. It was settled by 
Gallic or Gallo-Graeci tribes. 

Galatia, islands of; near M essalia, the stoechades — Stoechades Insulae, 
five small islands in the Mediterranean off the coast of G alii a N arbonensis and 
east of M assilia. Old names included Prote, M ese, and Hypaea. 

GALLIA near the Alps, GAUL, GALLIA, GALLICA — Gallia was used before 
the time of Julius Caesar to indicate all the land inhabited by the Galli or 
Celtae, including most of northern and western Europe and the British Isles. 
Transalpine or Farther Gaul included modern France, Belgium, parts of 
Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Cisalpine or Hither Gaul was 
the Po valley area in Italy 

GANGES RIVER, India — rising in U ttar Pradesh, south of the Himalayas, 
then flowing over the Hindustan Plain to the Bay of Bengal; the great holy 
river of India. 

GILEAD — a mountainous region of Transjordan, east of the Jordan 
River, from the Dead Sea to the Sea of Galilee. 

GREECE, GREEK — the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula (except for 
some Turkish islands), the A egean archipelago, and the islands of the Ionian 
Sea. To the north are Albania, Macedonia, and Bulgaria; in the northeast the 
M aritsa River separates western Greek Thrace and eastern Turkish Thrace. 
The Aegean, Mediterranean, and Ionian Seas surround the rest of the 
mainland. 

GYMNESIAN ISLES, called BALEARES — see Baleares, Spain; Balearic 
Islands. 

HELICON — the H el icon (£ I ikon 0 ros) is a mountain in B oeotia, north of 
the Gulf of Corinth, near Mount P am assu sand the P am es Mountains (P at eras 
Or os). 

HELIS, on the river ANIGRUS — Anigrus was a small river in the 
Triphylian Elis, noted for its foul smell and healing powers. See Elis. 


lxxii 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


heraclea, of Pontus (H eracleotia) — properly called Heraclea Pontica, a 
town on the Black Sea coast of northwest Turkey, east of Uskudar and 
northwest of Ankara, destroyed by the Romans in the Mithridatic wars 
(88-66BCE); modern Eregli is built on the site. 

HIERAPOLIS — a city of Great Phrygia, near the M aeander river. Also the 
name of the city formerly called B ambyce, in the northeast of Syria. 

IBERIA — the Iberian Peninsula is today occupied by Spain and Portugal. 
The Iberian language, spoken in Spain and southern Gaul as far north as the 
Garonne River, may be related to modern Basque. 

IDA, or PSILORITI - the highest mountain in Crete. 

ILLYRIA — an ancient country to the east of the Adriatic Sea; the area 
includes areas of modern Albania, Montenegro, Herzegovina, and 
Yugoslavia. Illyria was known as Dalmatia in Roman times, with Scodra 
(Shkoder in Albania) its principal city. 

INDIA - separated from the rest of Asia by the Himalayan Mountains, 
the Indian subcontinent includes Pakistan and Bangladesh. To the north are 
Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar. To the 
south lie the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea. 

IONIA — on the west coast of Asia Minor along the A egean Sea between 
M ysia and C aria, with L ydia to the east, the valley of H ermus in the north, and 
the M aeander valley in the south, and Caystrus the central valley. It was 
founded by Ionians. 

ISIACI, the — the Jewish people. 

ISTRIA, ISTRUS — a peninsula at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea, 
now mainly part of Croatia, divided from the mainland by the M onti della 
Vena, the highest peak being M onteM aggiore. Only Trieste is still Italian. The 
original Illyrian people were called H istri because the region was drained by 
the H ister (Danube) River. 

ITALY, ITALIA — a peninsula extending from the European continent 
southward into the Mediterranean, with the Adriatic Sea on the east; to the 
north it is edged by the Alps of France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. 
The earliest settlers may have been I tail'd Aryans from the north; Etruscans 
from Asia Minor or the Orient arrived on the Tuscan coast; and Greeks 
settled in the south. The plains south of the Tiber River ( Latium ) were settled 
by Latins, in due course becoming Rome. Ancient Italy was south of this, and 
north of Sicilian Italy, from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean. By the time of 
Dioscorides the Romans had conquered all of Italy. 

JUDAEA, JUDEA — a division of Palestine under the Romans who later 
integrated it with Syria, eventually making Judaea and Samaria the unified 
province of Palestina Prima. 

KISSAS — Cissus, a town in Macedonia on the mountain of the same 
name. 

LACEDAEMONIA — Lacedaemon was the E urotas Valley, occupied by the 
Lacedaemonians. Ancient Sparta, situated on the Acropolis hill on the west 
bank of the E urotas River, was the chief city of Laconia, in the southeast 
Peloponnesos. 

LATINS, LATINI — the Italici tribe who settled Latium, the territory south 
of the Tiber River among the Alban Hills where the city of Rome developed. 

LEMNOS, LIMNOS — an island of the Greek Archipelago in the A egean 
Sea, between the Ch aid dice ( Khalkidike ) peninsula in northern Greece and 
Turkey. 

LESBOS — now Lesvos, also called M itilini after its main town; a Greek 
island in the A egean Sea near the west coast of Asia Minor. Theophrastus was 
born at Eresus on this island. Lesbian means from Lesbos. 

LIBYA (AFRICA) — Libya is a state in north Africa, south of the 
Mediterranean, with Egypt, the Sudan, Chad, Niger, Algeria and Tunisia as 
neighbours. Its two coastal provinces are the ancient Cyrenaica (qv) and 
Tripolitania, both part of the Roman Empire. Cyrenaica was settled by the 
Greeks, and Tripolitania by the Phoenicians. Africa was sometimes used to 
indicate Cyrenaica, Libya, or the lands beyond. 


lxxiii 



GAZETTEER OF DIOSCORIDES' WORLD 


LIGURIA, LIGURIAN ALPS, on the APENNINE, a hill bordering the Alps - 
Liguria is a region of Italy along the north shore of the Gulf of Genoa 
(Ligurian Sea) up to the Maritime Alps and the Ligurian Apennines; its main 
city is Genova. The Apennine mountain range extends along the Italian 
peninsula, forming the watershed for the entire peninsula. The Ligurian 
Apennines stretch from Bocchetta dell' A Itare west of Savona (Bormida River) to 
La Cisa Pass, north of La Spezi a (M agra River) sloping steeply to the Ligurian 
Sea, and gently on the north to the Po Valley. 

LIPARIS, LIPARA — the Li pari (Aeolian) islands are an archipelago of 
seven islands and ten islets off the northeast coast of Sicily. Aeolus was the 
mythical king of the winds. 

LUCANIA, LUCANLAN — an area of southern Italy, now called Basilicata, 
with the Gulf of Taranto in the Ionian Sea and the Gulf of Poli castro on the 
Tyrrhenian Sea, northward to the 0 fan to River; to the west are the Lucanian 
Apennines. 

LYCIA — a district on the south Mediterranean coast of Asia Minor with 
C aria on the west, Phrygia and Pisidia on the north, and Pamphylia on the east; 
the Taurus mountain range is prominent, and the main river and city are 
X an thus. 

MACEDONIA, and by the river HALIOCMON — the south of the Balkan 
peninsula includes Greece, Bulgaria and M acedonia. M acedonia was originally 
only the area between Lake Kastoria and the H aliocmon (A liakmon ) River. By 
the time of Dioscorides it included the area of M acedonia within today's 
Greece. 

MAGI — the Magi tribe of MEDIA, a class of Zoroastrian ( qv ) priests in 
ancient Media and Persia reputed to possess supernatural powers, being 
specialists in divination from dreams, astrology, and magic. In Dioscorides' 
time the name was used for those claiming occult powers of Babylonian or 
Oriental origin. See M edia. 

magnesia, in Caria — M agnesi a ad Sipylum now called M anisa, is the 
capital of a vilayet in west central Turkey, near Smyrna (Izmir) on the A egean 
Sea coast, in the H ermus (G ediz ) River Valley. See C aria. 

massaleotica — possibly M assalia, M assilae, M assilia, now Marseille, 
France. 

MECCA — one of the twin capitals of Saudi Arabia, on the west coast of 
the Arabian Peninsula, east of Jidda, its port on the Red Sea. 

MEDIA — a kingdom in northwest Persia ruled by the Medes or M adai 
tribes originally from southern Russia. Median territory lay from Susiana in 
southern Persia to the H alys River in central Asia Minor. See Magi. 

MEGARA — capital of M egaris, opposite the island of Sal am is, near 
Athens. 

MELIA — M eliani was an inland Chaonian town in southern Albania. 

MELOS — an island in the Cyclades group in the A egean Sea, north of the 
Sea of Crete and the island of Crete, now M ilos or M Ho. 

MEMPHIS, in A r cadi a — M emphis was the capital of ancient Egypt, south 
of Cairo across the River Nile. The Egyptian name was M en-nefer, or M emphis 
in Greek. Its sacred name H ikuptah indicated house of the ka (genius) of Ptah, 
its great God, or A iguptos in Greek. M emphis cannot be traced in Arcadia. The 
department A rcadia (qv) lies in the the Peloponnesus in southern Greece. 

messenia — an area in the Peloponnesus, south of Arcadia and Sciritis, 
west of Laconiia, now M essinia, forming the Gulf of M essinia in the 
Mediterranean. 

MOSUL — the second largest city of Iraq, on the west bank of the Tigris 
River, northwest of Baghdad in the region formerly called Assyria; its 
Aramaic name was Hesna 'E bray a; ancient Nineveh is east of M osul on the 
east of the Tigris River. 

MYSIA, in the HELLESPONT, Asia — M ysia was the northwest province of 
Asia Minor with Pergamum the capital city, on the Caicus River, with the 
Aegean Sea to the west and the Hellespont (Dardanelles) on the northwest. 
The H ellespont is the narrow strait from the A egean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. 


lxxiv 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


NABATAEA (in Arabia) — a kingdom in the Middle East in the northwest 
of the Arabian Peninsula, now called Jordan, east of Palestine (Israel), 
surrounded by Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf of A qaba. 

NARBONA, near Spain — first called N arbo M artius, the first Roman 
colony in Gaul, named N arbona in the time of Dioscorides, now N arbonne, it is 
a city in southern France in the department of A ude, east of C arcassonne near 
the Mediterranean. Gallia N arbonensis indicated all of southern France in 
Roman times. 

NAXOS, NAXIAN — the largest island of the Cyclades group, a Greek 
archipelago in the south A egean Sea. 

NEW CARTHAGE, in Spain — a port on the Mediterranean Sea in the 
province of M urcia in southeast Spain southeast of Madrid, a magnificent 
natural harbour, called Carthago Nova by the Romans, now Cartagena. See 
Carthage. 

NILE RIVER — the world's longest river, its farthest source being the 
Kagera River near Lake Tanganyika. It flows along the Rift Valley, the edge of 
the Abyssinian Plateau, the Red Sea hills, the Sudanese plain, the Nubian 
Desert, a Libyan limestone trough in Egypt, then into the extensive Nile 
Delta below Cairo, and into the Mediterrannean Sea. 

NISYRUS — a small island in the Carpathian Sea near the Triopium 
promontory of Caria. 

OLYMPUS, mountain in Lycia — a number of mountains in Greece, Asia 
Minor and Cyprus were named 0 lympus, the most famous being the Greek 
0 lympus T hessalus in north T hessaly, 0 lympus Bithynus at U ludag near Bursa in 
northwest Turkey, and Olympus in Lycia, Asia Minor. See Lycia. 

OSTHANES — Ostha was a city of the Indian people, the Siramnai 
(Rhamnai). 

OSTRACEAN — Ostra, Ostranes, a town in Umbria in the territory of the 
Senones. 

PACHYNUM, promontory near Syracuse — the cape on the southeast tip 
of Sicily, south of Syracuse, in the Mediterranean Sea. 

PALMYRA, in Syria — Palmyra i.e. palm city, its Arabic name T admor, is an 
oasis northeast of Damascus. 

PAMPHYLIA — a narrow strip of the south coast of Asia Minor between 
Lycia and Cilicia, bordering on Pisidia. 

PAROS, PARIAN — one of the larger islands of the Cyclades group south 
of the Greek mainland in the A egean Sea. 

PARNASSUS — a mountain in the Pindus range in Greece north of the 
Gulf of Corinth, in the territory of Phocis; the town and Temple of Delphi 
were on its southern side; Mount Lycorea, one of its twin peaks, is the site of 
the Corycian Grotto. 

PELOPONNESUS — the mainland peninsula of Greece south of the Gulfs 
of Corinth and Patrai, with the narrow Isthmus of Corinth joining it to Attica; 
its provinces Arcadia and Argolis included the towns of Sparta and Olympia, 
site of the Olympic games, now P el oponnesos. 

PERGA — important ancient city of Pamphylia between the rivers 
Catarrhactes and Cestrus, on a little island northeast of A tt alia. 

PERSIA — the southwest Asian country, original home of the Aryan race, 
and now Iran. The Persian Empire of ancient times extended from Egypt to 
the Indus River. The Mesopotamian civilizations of Sumeria, Babylonia and 
Assyria preceded it. 

PETRA, in j udaea — a city in Jordan, capital of the Nabataeans, a people of 
Arabic background, situated halfway between the port of Ezion-geber in the 
Gulf of A qaba, and G aza on the Mediterranean Sea. 

PHILADELPHIA, in LYDIA — Philadelphia was 'the city of the open door' 
in Lydia on the great trade route from Susa, capital of Persia, east through 
Sardis and Philadelphia to Ephesus on the Aegean Sea; Lydia was an area in 
central Asia Minor with Sardis as its capital, and for a period the Greek states 


lxxv 



GAZETTEER OF DIOSCORIDES' WORLD 


on the coast of Asia Minor and much of the interior of Phrygia came under 
Lydian control, but its political power had waned long before the time of 
Dioscorides. See Sardis. 

PHOENICIA — a district on the Syrian coast inhabited by Semitic traders 
called Phoenicians, the main independent city-states were T yre, Si don, Beirut 
and Byblos. Trading posts established by the Phoenicians included Carthage 
in north Africa and Cadiz in Spain. By the time of Dioscorides, Phoenicia had 
been added to the Roman province of Syria. 

PHOLOE — a mountain forming the boundary between A rcadia and E I is. 

PHRYGIA — the western Anatolian Plateau of central Asia Minor, its 
capital Gordion on the Sangarios River was taken by the Cimmerians in the 
seventh century BCE. 

PISIDIA, in PAMPHYLIA — Pisidia, an ancient province of Asia Minor, lay 
east of Caria, south of Phrygia, west of Cilicia and north of Lycia and 
Pamphylia ; Pamphyiia occupied the coastal area to the southeast of Pisidia. 

PITYUSA, an island near Spain — two islands off the south coast of Spain 
and west of the Baleares, called Ebusus (/visa), and Ophiussa ( Formentera ). 

PLAGIOPOLIS — possibly Placia, a small Pelasgian colony at the foot of 
Mount Olympus in Greece. 

PNIGITIS — Ecclesia ( Pnyx ) means place of assembly. 

PONTUS, PONTIC — an ancient kingdom in northeast Asia Minor on the 
south shore of the Black Sea as far as the H alys River. The herbalist Crateaus, 
whose beautiful drawings illustrate the Codex Vindobonensis of Dioscorides, 
was physician to Mithridates VI of Pontus. 

PROPONTIS, around the island Besbicum — a small sea which unites the 
E uxine and A egean Seas, and divides Europe from Asia. 

PSOPHIS, in A rcadia — a town in the northwest of A rcadia on the river 
Ery man thus, originally called Phegia. 

puteoli — see D icaearchia. 

RAVENNA, Italy — a province and the capital in Emilia-Romagna in 
northeastern Italy, northeast of Florence near the Adriatic Sea. 

RED SEA — a narrow sea separating Africa and Arabia, between the Gulf 
of Suez and the Gulf of A qaba. 

RHODES - the largest island in the Greek Dodecanese or Sporades 
archipelago, in the A egean Sea close to Turkey, its capital city of R hodes was 
the site of the Colossus of R hodes, one of the seven wonders of antiquity. 

ROME, ROMAN — capital of the Roman Empire and now of Italy, in 
central Italy on the Tiber River; initially a ford across the Tiber between 
Etruria and Latium. The seven hills of Rome are the Capitoiine, the Quirinai, 
the Viminal, the Esquiline, the Caelian, the Aventine and the Palatine, Rome is 
surrounded by the plains of the C ampagna. 

SALAMINE, in Cyprus — a Cyprian city in the middle of the east coast, 
north of the river Pediaeus. 

SAMIA — a town of Elis in the district Triphylia, south of Olympia, 
between L epreum and the A Ipheus. 

SAMPHARITICI — Sampha was a town in Phonecia. 

SAMOTHRACE, SAMOTHRACIA — a Greek island in the north A egean Sea, 
near the Gulf of Saros in Thrace, now called Samothraki. 

santonicum in Sardonis — the Santoni or Santones were a celtic people. 
See Sardonis. 

SARACENIAN, SARACEN — Saracen was a Graeco-Roman name for the 
nomadic peoples of the Syrian and Arabian deserts, the Arabs. 

SARDIA, SARDINIA — Sardi is Sardinia, a large island in the 
Mediterranean, west of the Italian peninsula and south of Corsica, first 
colonized by Phoenicians, then Carthaginians, and later the Romans. 

SARDIS — capital city of Lydia, Asia Minor, at the north base of Mount 
T mol us, northeast of Smyrna (Izmir), in the valley of the Hermus ( Gediz ) River. 
See Philadelphia. 

sardonis, in Galatia — Sardoum or Sardonicum mare, part of the 
Mediterranean on the west and south of Sardinia. See Galatia. 


lxxvi 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


scios, in the A egean Sea — see Chios. 

SCYTHIA, near the river PONTUS — In Dioscorides' time Scythia was the 
country south of the Danube delta in modern Romania now called the 
Dobruja. Its inhabitants were the Scythae or Scythians. After 395CE the 
northern province of the diocese of Thrace in Greece was called Scythia. 
Pontus was on the southern shore of the Black Sea. 

SELEUCIA, near Syria — Sdeuc/a-on-Tigris in Mesopotamia was the 
capital of the Syrian Seleucid Empire, at one time stretching from Asia Minor 
to north India; the Romans divided Seleucid Syria into three kingdoms, and 
established several Roman provinces including Seleucid Mesopotamia. 

SELINUS, SELINUSIAN — a Greek city, now in ruins, near Castelv&rano on 
the southwest coast of Sicily. 

SICILIA, SICILY, AGRIGENTINES — a Mediterranean island near the 
southwest tip of the Italian peninsula, with the Straits of M essina separating 
it from Italy, and Tunisia in the southwest. Sicily was Rome's first colony. 
Agrigento is a province of Sicily. 

SICYONIA — a small district in the northeast of Peloponnesus, 
surrounded by Corinth, Achaia, Phlius, Cieonae, and the Corinthian gulf. 

SIDON — a port on the Mediterranean in southwest Lebanon, south of 
Beirut and north of Tyre. 

SINOPE — now the city of Sinop in Turkey, on the southern shore of the 
E uxine Sea (Black Sea). 

SMYRNA — a major port in Turkey now called Izmir, on the A egean coast 
of Ionia, Asia Minor. 

SOLIS, a hill — Solois, M ons Solis, a promontory on the southwest coast of 
M auretania. 

SPAIN - a country in southwest Europe occupying most of the Iberian 
Peninsula, surrounded by the Bay of Biscay, the Pyrenees Mountains, 
France, the Mediterranean, the Straits of Gibraltar, Portugal, and the Atlantic 
Ocean; called H ispaniae by the Romans. 

STOECHADES — see G alatia, Islands of. 

SYRIA — Greater Syria stretched from the Taurus Mountains to the Sinai 
Desert, including modern Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and parts of Turkey 
and Iraq. 

TAPHOSIRIS, in Egypt — a city of lower Egypt, on the northwest frontier, 
in the Lybia N omos, near A lexandria. 

TARENTUM, TARANTO — founded by Spartans as Taras, a city and 
province in A puli a, southeast Italy, in the Gulf of T aranto. 

TAURUS MOUNTAINS, in Cappadocia — part of the Alpine mountain 
system of Eurasia stretching from the Greek Pindus Mountains to the Iranian 
Zagros Mountains. See Cappadocia. 

THABANA, GALILEE — T habor, T abor, or A tabyrium, an isolated mountain 
east of the plain of E sdrael on in G alilee. G ali lee in Palestine (Israel), west of the 
River Jordan, stretches from H aifa and the Plain of Esdraelon, to Lebanon. It 
was a Roman tetrarchate ruled by the Herods. 

THAPSUS, an island — a city on the east coast of Sicily on a peninsula of 
the same name. Also a city on the east coast of Byzacena, in A frica Propria. 

THASSOS, THASIAN — an island in the north A egean Sea off the coast of 
T hr ace (Greek M acedonia), across the T hassos Straits from N eapolis (K aval a) on 
the mainland, now called T hasos. 

THEBES, in Egypt (THEBAN, THEBAICAN) - the Egyptian city of Waset, later 
called Thebes by the Greeks, after their own Thebes in Boeotia, it lies on the 
banks of the Nile River south of Cairo. 

THESSALY, THESSALIA, near the river Peneus — Thessaly was part of 
ancient Greece on the east coast, surrounded by M acedonia, Epirus, Doris, 
Locris and the Aegean Sea. The Peneus River ( Pineios ), rising in the Pindus 
Mountains to the west, flows through Larissa and 7 Gripe into the Thermaic 
Gulf in the A egean Sea. 

THRACE, by the river Strimon, THRACIAN — Thrace (now Macedonian 
Greece) is the ancient name of the Balkan area south of the Danube River, 


lxxvii 



GAZETTEER OF DIOSCORIDES' WORLD 


west of the Black Sea, east of the Strimon River and north of the A egean Sea. 
The Strimon River (also called Strymon, and now Strum), rising in the 
mountains of western Bulgaria, flows south through T hr ace to the Gulf of 
Strimon in the A egean Sea. 

thuscan — see Etruria. 

TMOLUS, a hill in Libya near MAURETANIA — T mol US is a mountain near 
Sardis, capital city of Lydia in Asia Minor, northeast of Smyrna (now Izmur). 
M auretania, the Roman province of M auretania T ingitana, named after T ingis 
(Tangier), included northwest modern Morocco and west Algeria (N u midi a). 
It was later extended to the Bou R egreg River at Sale, with its capital the city of 
Volubilis. See Sardis. 

TRALLES — flourishing merchant city in Asia Minor on the south foot of 
Mount M essogis, on the River Eudon. Also called Anthea, Seleucia, and 
Antiochia. There was also a city called T ralles in Phrygia. 

TROY, TROJAN — a settlement in Asia Minor three miles inland on the 
northwest Aegean coast, near the mouth of the H ellespont. Also called Ili os, 
I lion, or / Hum, it was the site of the Trojan War. Nine settlements were built in 
turn upon the ruins of former settlements, but it lost imprtance with the 
growth of Constantinople. 

tyrrhenia — see Etruria. 

VESTINUM, VESTIN MOUNTAINS — the Vestini were a Sabellian people 
living in central Italy between the Appenines and the Adriatic Sea, near the 
rivers M atrius and A tern us. 

ZACYNTHUS — the most southerly Greek island in the Ionian Sea, ten 
miles west of Elis in the Peloponnesos, also called Zante or Zakinthos, and 
settled in ancient times by Arcadians. 

ZOROASTRIAN, ZOROASTRES — also called Mazdaism, a religion founded 
in the eighth or seventh century BCE by a reformer of the Iranian religion. He 
was known as Zarathushtra (in Greek, Zoroaster). 



lxxviii 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 

1-1. IRIS 


SUGGESTED: Iris germanica [Fuchs, Brunfels, Linnaeus] 

Iris vulgaris Germanica sivesylvestris [Bauhin] 

— German Iris, Blue Flower de Luce, Flowering Ring 

PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY 

I ris is named because of its resemblance to the rainbow 
in heaven. It bears leaves like little daggers but bigger, 
broader and fatter [or thicker]: the flowers on the stalk 
are bent in one over against another and have varied 
colours for they are white, pale, black, purple or azure 
[blue]. It is because of the variety of colours that it is 
compared to the heavenly rainbow. The roots 
underneath are knotty and strong [or sound] with a 
sweet taste. These when cut should be dried in the shade 
and stored with a linen thread put through them. The 
best is from Illyria and Macedonia and the best of these 
has a thick stumpy root, hard to break, of a faint yellow 
colour with an especially good scent and very bitter to the 
taste. It has a sound smell and does not incline to 
nastiness or cause sneezing when pounded. The second 
is from Libya. It is white in colour, bitter to the taste, next 
in strength (to the former), and when these grow old they 
are worm-eaten yet then they smell even sweeter. 

They are all warming and reduce the intensity of 
symptoms. They are suitable against coughs and reduce 
the intensity of thick mucus that is hard to get up. Seven 
teaspoonfuls of a decoction (taken as a drink in honey 
water) purge thick mucus and bile. They also cause sleep, 
provoke tears, and heal suffering in the bowels. Taken as 
a drink with vinegar they help those bitten by venomous 
creatures, the splenetic, those troubled with convulsive 
fits or chilled and stiff with cold, and those who drop 
their food. Taken in a drink with wine they bring out the 
menstrual flow. A decoction of them is suitable for 
women's warm packs that soften and open their private 
places; for sciatica (taken as an infusion); for fistulas, and 
all sores and wounds that it fill s up with flesh. Applied as 
an eye salve with honey they draw out particles. Chewed 


1 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 


and applied as a poultice they soften swellings and old 
hard swellings, and dried they fill up ulcers and clean 
them. With honey they fill up bare bones with flesh. They 
are good for headaches applied as a poultice with vinegar 
and rosaceum [1-53]. Daubed on with white hellebore and 
twice as much honey they clean off freckles and sunburn. 
They are also mixed with suppositories, warm 
compresses and fatigue removers, and in general they are 
of considerable use. This is also called iris illyrica, thelpida, 
urania, catharon, or thaumastos; the Romans call it radix 
marica, some, gladiolus, others, opertritis or consecratrix, 
and the Egyptians call it nar. 


1-2. AKORON 


suggested: A corum officinarum, Gladiolus luteus [Fuchs, 
Brunfels], A corus adulterinus [Bauhin], Iris pseudacorus 
[Linnaeus] — Yellow Flag, Water Flag 

[other usage] A corus calamus, A corus aromaticus, 

A corus odoratus — Sweet Flag, Sweet Sedge, Myrtle Sedge 


see 1-17, 1-114 — calamus 



corum has leaves which resemble those of iris very 


L JLmuch only narrower, and the roots are similar only 
one wrapped in the other, not growing downward but 
sidelong in the upper part of the earth. They are sharp to 
the taste, distinguished by pale white knots, and not 
unpleasant to smell. The best is thick and white, not 
worm-eaten, full and fragrant. Root such as this comes 
from Colchis and from Galatia and is called asplenium. 

The root is heating and a decoction of it (taken as a 
drink) causes an urge to urinate. It is good for pain of the 
rectum, chest and liver; and for griping, hernia and 
convulsions. It reduces the spleen, and it helps those sick 
with dripping mucus, and those poisoned by animal 
bites. It is effective in a hip bath like iris for female 
problems. The juice of the root cleans off things that 
darken the pupils of the eyes. The root of it is also 
effective mixed with antidotes. It is also called chorus, 
aphrodisia or the mariner's root; the Romans call it venerea, 
and the Gauls call it the pepper of bees, piper apum. 


2 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Iris germanica 
after FAGUET — 1891 


3 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 


Gladiolus lutcus^uel Acorus 
uulgaris* 

Cccl SdJxpcrteL 



.. .. v »>-* ..'j o 

-»A 


4 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-3. MEON 

suggested: Daucus creticus, Tordylon , Seseli creticum [Fuchs], 
A themanta meum [Linnaeus], A ethusa meum, 

M eum athemanticum [in Sprague], A themanticum meum, 
Seseli meum — Bald-money, Meu, Spignel, Bear Root 

see 3-63 


T he meum which is called athamanticum grows 
abundantly in Macedonia and Spain, and is similar in 
the stalk and leaves to anethum [3-67], but thicker than 
anethum, sometimes rising up to two feet, scattered 
underneath with thin, winding, straight, long roots, 
smelling sweet and warming the tongue. The roots 
(boiled with water or pounded smooth [or fine] without 
boiling and taken in a drink) lessen pains caused by 
obstructions around the bladder and kidneys. They are 
good for urinary difficulties, a gas-filled stomach, 
griping, diseases of the womb and pain in the joints. 
Pounded into small pieces with honey and taken as 
syrup they help a rheumatic chest; boiled for a hip bath 
they draw out the blood of the menstrual flow. Applied 
as a plaster to the lower part of children's bellies they 
induce the movement of urine. If more of a decoction 
than is suitable is taken as a drink it causes a headache. 

1-4. KUPEIROS 

suggested: Cyperus [Fuchs], Cyperus odoratus radicelonga, 
Cyperus officinarum [Bauhin], Cyperus longus [Linnaeus] 
Cyperus escu/entis, Cyperus officinal is, Cyperus olivaris, 
Cyperus radicosus, Cyperus hydra — Yellow Nutsedge, 
Earth Almond, Edible Cyperus, Rush Nut 

C yperus has leaves like porrum [2-179] but longer and 
more slender; and a stalk of a foot high or higher 
with corners like j uncus odoratus [4-52, 1-16] on the top of 
which there emerge little leaves and seed. Use has been 
made of the roots of this for as long as the use of the olive. 
They lie underneath, adhering together — round, black, 
smelling good, bitter. It grows in clay or shale places as 
well as marshy. The best is heaviest — thick, full, hard to 
break, rough with a particular sharpness, such as the 
Silician and Syrian, and that from the Cycladean Islands. 


5 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 


It is warming, dilates the narrow openings of blood 
vessels and is diuretic. A decoction (taken as a drink) 
helps those troubled with stones [urinary, kidney] and 
dropsy and also those bitten by scorpions. Applied as a 
warm pack it is good for chills of the vulva and its 
obstruction, drawing down the menstrual flow. Dried 
and pounded to powder it is good for an ulcerous mouth, 
even though the ulcers are erosive. It is mixed with warm 
compresses for heating, and is effective for thickening 
ointments. Some speak also of another kind of cyperus, 
like ginger, which grows in India, which when chewed is 
found to taste bitter like saffron. Applied as an ointment it 
presently removes hair [depilatory]. The Romans call it 
the root of the bulrush, others the bulrush. Some call 
cyperus, as well as aspalathus [1-19], by the name of 
erysisceptrum. 


1-5. KARDAMOMON 

suggested: A momum cardamom — Cardamom 

see 1-14 


T he best cardamomum is brought out of Comagene, 
Armenia and Bosporus. It grows too in India and 
Arabia. Choose that which is hard to break, full, tightly 
shut (for that which is not is out of date), and which also 
has an offensive smell, and is sharp to the taste and 
somewhat bitter. 

A decoction (taken as a drink with water) is able to 
heat. It is good for those who have illness comitralis 
[possibly from comites — veins, arteries adjacent to nerves 
— mitralism — lesions on the heart], coughs, sciatica, 
paralysis, hernias, convulsions and griping, and it expels 
rectal worms. Taken as a drink with wine it is good for 
those who have defective kidneys and difficulty meiendi 
[urination]. It is also good for one who has been stricken 
by a scorpion and for all those hurt by the venom of other 
creatures. A teaspoonful (taken as a drink with bark from 
the roots of bay) breaks stones [kidney, urinary]. Taken as 
inhalations of smoke or fumes it is an abortifacient, and 
daubed on with vinegar it takes away parasitic skin 
diseases. It is also mixed in thick ointments and other 
antidotes. 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Cypertis* 
ttMfcer ©atcfait 




7 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 


4 9G PhutmficTare* 

(Scmeiti Bafcnojt* 



8 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-6. NARDOS 


suggested: Phu germanicum, Valeriana vulgaris, 

Phu vulgare [Fuchs], Valeri ana sylvestris major [Bauhin], 
Valeriana officinalis [Linnaeus] — Valerian [Mabberley] 

J ataman si, N ardostachys j ataman si, Valeriana spica, 
Valeriana jatamansi — Nardus, Spikenard, Indian Valerian, 

Nard 



T here are two kinds of nardus. The one is called Indian, 
the other Syrian. Not that it is found in Syria, but 
because one part of the mountain where it grows turns 
towards Syria and the other towards India. Of that which 
is called Syrian the best is new, smooth, full of filaments, a 
yellow colour, very fragrant, and resembles Cyprus [1-124] 
in the smell. It has a short ear, a bitter taste, and is very 
drying to the tongue, its sweet smell lasting a long time. 
Of the Indian, one kind is called Gangetic from a certain 
river named Ganges running by the hill where it grows. It 
is somewhat weaker in strength because it comes out of 
watery places. It is higher and has more ears coming out 
of the same root, both full of filaments, and one wrapped 
in the other, with a poisonous smell. That which grows 
more on the hill is a great deal sweeter, short-eared, 
resembling Cyprus [1-124] in the sweetness of its smell, 
and having other qualities in it, like that which is 
surnamed the Syrian nardus. There is also another kind of 
nardus called Sampharitic from the name of the place — 
very little, yet great-eared, with a white stalk sometimes 
growing in the middle, very much like the smell of a goat 
in scent. This ought utterly to be refused. It is also sold 
infused which fault is found out as follows: that the ear of 
it is white, withered, and with down on it. They 
adulterate it by blowing stibium [trisulphide of antimony 
or black antimony] with water or date wine into it to 
make it denser, and so that it may be heavier. 

When you are to use it, if any dirt sticks to the roots of 
it you are to take it off and sift it, separating the dust, 
which is good to make washing water for the hands. The 
roots are warming, drying and uretic, as a result (taken as 
a drink) they stop the bowels. Applied they stop 
discharges of the womb and the whites [leucorrhoea, a 
mucosal vaginal discharge]. A decoction (taken as a drink 
with cold water) helps nausea and stomach rosiones 


9 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 


[gnawing corrosion], those troubled with wind, sickness 
of the liver or head, and painful kidneys. Boiled in water 
and given either as a warm pack or hip bath they heal 
inflammation of the vulva. They are good for superfluous 
fluids of the eyelids, drying and thickening them. For 
moist bodies a sprinkling is effective to take away the 
smell of sweat. They are mixed with antidotes. Ground 
smooth and made into balls with wine, they are stored for 
eye medicines in a new jar, which has not been smeared 
with pitch. 


1-7. NARDOS KELTIKE 

suggested: Valeriana celticus, Nardus ce/ticus 
— Celtic Spikenard, Celtic Valerian 

T he Celtic nard grows on the Alps of Liguria in that 
country called Gallica. It also grows in Istria. It is a 
little short shrub that is gathered together with the roots 
and made up into hand bundles. It has somewhat long 
leaves of a pale yellow with a yellow flower. Use is only 
made of the stalks and roots and the sweet smell is only 
from them. As a result (having the day before sprinkled 
the bindings with water and taken off the earthy stuff), 
you ought to lay them in a more moist ground (having 
first laid paper under them), and the next day you ought 
to make them clean again, together with the chaff and 
strange stuff, for that which is good in it is not taken away 
by the strength of the moisture. This herb is often 
counterfeited by another herb like it gathered together 
with it which because of the poisonous smell that it has 
they call the goat, but the difference is easily known for 
this herb is without a stalk, whiter, and with shorter 
leaves, neither has it a bitter or sweet-smelling root as in 
the true nardus. 

Choose the little stalks and the roots but throw away 
the leaves. If you will put them in storage you must first 
have them ground smooth and mixed with wine. Then 
make them into little balls and keep them in new ceramic 
bottles, corking them carefully. The best is new, fragrant, 
full of roots, plump and not easily broken. It is good for 
the same things as the Syrian but it is more diuretic and 
better for stomach disorders. Taken as a drink with a 
decoction of wormwood [3-26] it helps inflammation of 


10 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



11 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 



12 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


the liver, jaundice, and gas-filled intestines. In the same 
way it is good for the spleen, bladder and kidneys, as well 
as mixed with wine for bites of venomous creatures. It is 
used in warm compresses, liquid medicines and 
warming ointments. 

1-8. NARDOS OREINE 

suggested: Valeriana dioica — Marsh Valerian 

M ountain nardus (which is called thylacitis and nevis 
by some) grows in Cilicia and Syria. It has stalks 
and leaves like eryngium but smaller, yet not sharp and 
prickly. The two or more roots that lie underneath are 
black and fragrant like asphodelus, but thinner and a great 
deal smaller. It does not have a stalk, fruit or flower for 
any long time. The root is good for the same things as the 
Celtic nardus [1-7]. 


1-9. ASARON 


suggested: Asarum europaeum — Asarabacca, Cabaret, 
Wild Nard, Hazelwort 

POISONOUS 

A sarum has leaves like cissus but much thicker and 
rounder, with a flower between the leaves near the 
root that is an azure [blue] colour like cytinus [1-127] or 
hyoscyamus [4-69], in which lies seed like the kernels of 
grapes. The many roots underneath smell like cinnamon. 
It loves rough, dry ground. The root of this helps hernia, 
convulsions, old coughs, difficulty in breathing, and 
difficulty in urinating. It expels the menstrual flow, and 
taken as a drink with wine it is good for those poisoned 
by animal bites. The leaves are astringent, and are 
applied to help inflammation, pains in the head, new 
ulcers of the eyes, breasts inflamed after childbearing and 
erysipela [inflammatory skin disease]. The smell induces 
sleep. Crateuas the herbalist concurs. Many roots lie 
underneath — knotty, slender and crooked like grasses, 
yet a great deal slenderer and smelling good, heating, 
and biting the tongue considerably. They are diuretic and 
warming. They cause vomiting and are good for dropsy 


13 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 


and obstinate ischuria [hip pains? — urine retention?], 
and they bring down the menstrual flow. Six 
teaspoonfuls of the roots (taken as a drink with honey 
and water) purge like white hellebore. They are mixed 
with ointments. It grows on shady mountains and is 
common in Pontus, Phrygia, Illyricum and Vestinum, 
Italy. It is also called nardus sylvestris, the Magi call it 
sanguis martis, the Osthenes, thesa, the Egyptians, cereera, 
the Romans, perpensa. It is also called baccharis, the 
Thuscans (or Etruscans) call it SUCCinum , some call it 
nardus rustica, and the Gauls call it baccar. 

1-10. PHOU 


suggested: Phu magnum, Valeriana maior, Phu verum [Fuchs] 
Valeriana hortensis [Bauhin] Valeriana phu [Linnaeus], 
Valeriana dioscorides — Phu, Cretan Spikenard, 

Garden Valerian 

P hu (which some also call sylvestris nardus [garden 
nard]) grows in Pontus, and it has leaves much like 
elaphoboscon [2-182] or hipposelinon [3-78], with a stalk of a 
foot high or more — smooth, soft, inclining to a purple 
colour, hollow in the middle and distinguished by knots. 
The lower parts are somewhat like those of narcissus but 
bigger, more tender and purple in a pale white. The root 
in its upper part is about the thickness of the little finger, 
and it has filaments like j uncus odoratus [4-52, 1-16] or 
veratrum nigrum [4-151] that grow within one another — a 
pale yellow, pleasantly-scented and resembling nardus in 
its smell, with a certain poisonous kind of heaviness. 
Dried and given in drinks it is warming and encourages 
urine, and a decoction of it may do the same. It is good for 
a painful rectum, encourages the menstrual flow, and is 
mixed with antidotes. It is adulterated mixed with the 
roots of ruscus [4-146] but the knowledge of this is easy — 
for these are hard, not easily broken and without any 
good smell. 


14 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Phu nerum. 495 

OMfc$ 



15 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 



16 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-11. MALABATHRON 

suggested: Trapa bi corn is — Ling Nut 
T rapa bispinosa — Singhara Nut 
Trapa quadrispinosa — Water Chestnut sp 

Limnantheum indicum, Nymphoides indica — Water Snowflake 

S ome imagine malabathrum to be the leaf of the Indian 
nardus [1-6] (deceived by the similarity of the smell) 
for there are many things like nardus in smell, such as phu 
[1-10], asarum and neris [?4-82], But this is not so for it is a 
particular herb that grows in the Indian marshes with the 
leaves swimming on the water like the pal UStris lens [4-88] 
in the marshes, with no root. Having gathered it they 
immediately pierce it through with a linen thread, drying 
it like this, and preserve it. They say that when the 
summer heat dries up the water, the earth is burnt along 
with the shoots of it, and unless this happens it will 
spring up no more. The best is new and a pale white 
inclining to blackness, hard to break, sound, biting the 
nose with its smell, and the sweetness of its smell is long- 
lasting. It is like nardus [1-6] in taste without any taste of 
salt. That which is weak with a mouldy scent and breaks 
into small pieces is worthless. It has the same properties 
as nardusbut does everything more forcibly. M alabathrum 
is more diuretic and better for the stomach. It helps 
inflammation of the eyes pounded into small pieces, 
boiled in wine, and rubbed on. It is put under the tongue 
for sweetness of the breath, and it is put among cloths for 
it keeps them from moths and scents them sweetly. 

1-12. KASSIA 

suggested: Cassia acuti folia — True Senna, 
Alexandrian Senna 

Cassia fistula — Purging Cassia, Golden Shower, 

Indian Laburnum 
Cassia an gusti folia — Indian Senna 

T here are many kinds of cassia growing around Arabia 
with stores of aromatic things. It has a twig with a 
thick bark and leaves like pepper. Choose that which is 
reddish-yellow, with a good colour, resembling coral — 
very slender, long and thick, full of tubes, with a biting 


17 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 


taste, and astringent with considerable heat, aromatic, 
and resembling wine in its smell. Such, by the inhabitants 
of the country, is called dchy, and the merchants in 
Alexandria call it daphnitis Above this is preferred the 
black kind which is called gizir, inclining to a purple and 
thick, with a smell like a rose, the most suitable of any for 
bodily uses; and that formerly spoken of is next to this. 
The third kind is called mosyleticus blastos. The rest are of 
no account such as that which is called aphysemon — black 
and unsightly and thinly- barked or having it full of 
chinks — as well as that which is called kitto and dacar. 
There is also a certain bastard cassia, amazingly similar, 
which is found out by its taste that is neither sharp nor 
aromatic, and it has bark adhering to the soft internal 
tissue. There is also found a broad reed — tender, light, 
full of branches — which is better than the others. Reject 
that which is a pale white, coarse, smells like a goat, and 
has not a thick reed but is coarse and thin. It is diuretic, 
warming, drying and gently astringent. It is fit for eye 
medicines that are made for clearing the sight, and for 
warm compresses. It takes away freckles applied with 
honey, and encourages the menstrual flow. Taken as a 
drink it helps those bitten by snakes. It is good too taken 
as a drink for all internal inflammation, and the kidneys; 
for women too as hip baths, and as inhalations of fumes 
or smoke for dilation of the uterus. If there is no 
cinnamon at hand then twice as much of this mixed with 
medicines will do the same things. It is very effective for 
many things. 


1-13. KINAMOMON 


suggested: Cinnamomum zeylanicum, 

Laurus cinnamomum, Persea cinnamomum — Cinnamon 
Can el I a alba — Wild Cinnamon 

T here are many kinds of cinnamon with several 
names proper to the countries where they grow, but 
the best is that which they call mosulum because in a way 
it bears a similarity to that cassia which they call mosu litis. 
Of this choose that which is new, black in colour, 
inclining to an ash colour like that of wine, with slender 
smooth shoots, full of lasting knots, especially fragrant. 
For most commonly to discern which is best depends on 


18 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


the sweetness of its smell. For that which is the best and 
the most special has a smell resembling rue [3-52, 3-53, 
4-98] or cardamom, and furthermore it is sharp and biting 
to the taste, somewhat salty with heat, when rubbed not 
easily made rough, and when broken downy, with 
smoothness between the knots. Test it as follows by 
taking a shoot from one root (for this trial is easy), for 
there are some fragments mixed in, and at the first trial 
the best gives off a sweet taste and fills the nose with the 
scent of it and hinders discerning the worst. There is also 
a mountain variety — thick, dwarfish, of a very glittering 
colour. And there is a third from Mosul — black, and with 
a very sweet taste, shrubby and without many knots. The 
fourth kind is white, fungal, pushed up to sight, and vile 
and brittle, with a great root, smelling like cassia. The fifth 
sort bites the nose with its smell, is reddish-yellow, and its 
bark is very like red cassia — but it is solid to the touch, 
not very thin, with a thick root. Of these that which has a 
smell like frankincense, cassia or amomum [1-14] is the 
worst in smell. Choose that which is white, rough, and 
with a coarse bark, but avoid that which is smooth and 
woody around the root as useless. There is another 
somewhat like it that is called bastard cinnamon — vile, 
with a faint smell and weak strength. It is called ginger 
xylocinn amomum [xylo — wood], having some similarity 
to cinnamon. There is also woody cinnamon that has 
long and strong shoots but is much inferior in sweetness 
of smell. It is said by some that this xylocinn amomum 
differs in kind from cinnamon having another nature. 
Now all cinnamon is warming, diuretic, softening and 
digestive. It draws out the menstrual flow and is an 
abortifacient, taken as a drink with myrrh [1-73, 1-77, 
4-116] or else applied. It is also good against beasts that 
put out their poison and against deadly poisons 
[antidote]. It cleans away, heats and thins pus that 
darkens the pupils, and is diuretic. Rubbed on with 
honey it takes away freckles and sunburn. It is good for 
coughs and mucosal discharges, dropsy, diseases of the 
kidneys, and difficult urination. It is mixed with precious 
ointments and in general it is effective for many things. It 
is prepared for storage by being pounded into small 
pieces, put into wine, and dried in the shade. 


19 



BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 


1-14. AMOMON 


suggested: A momum repens, Elettaria cardamomum, 

A Ipina cardamom — Bastard Cardamom, Lesser Cardamom 
Amomum aromaticum [Mabberley] — Bengal Cardamom 

see 1-5 


A momum is a little shrub winding out of the wood 
within itself the same way as racemus [1-49], and it 
has a little flower like that of the leu coion [3-138] but leaves 
like bryonia [4-184], The best is brought out of Armenia 
with a good colour, a pale reddish wood and a very 
fragrant smell. Because it grows in plain and watery 
places that from Media is weaker. It is large, a pale green, 
soft to touch, and full of veins in the wood, resembling 
origanum in its smell. That which comes from Pontus is a 
pale red, neither long nor hard to break, clustered, full of 
fruit, and biting to smell. Choose that which is new and 
white or a faint red, not that which is close and adhering 
together, but that which is loose and diffused, full of 
seeds like the kernels of grapes, heavy, very fragrant, 
without rottenness or mould, and sharp, biting to the 
taste, a single and not many colours. 

It is warming, astringent and drying. It causes sleep 
and relieves pain applied as a poultice to the forehead. It 
ripens and dissolves inflammation and scalded sores of 
the head. It is also good for those stricken by scorpions 
applied as a poultice with basil. It helps gout, and it helps 
and soothes inflammation of the eyes, and those with 
haemorrhoids in their bowels; and it is effective for 
female problems or damage both as suppositories and 
baths. The liquid medicine (taken as a drink) is good for 
liver disorders, defective kidneys and gout, and it is 
mixed with antidotes and the most precious ointments. 
Some adulterate amomum with amomis [Amomis pimenta] 
that is like amomum yet without smell and without fruit. It 
grows in Armenia and has a flower like origanum. As a 
rule to prevent deception avoid the fragments and 
choose those that have perfect branches out of one root. 


20 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-15. KOSTOS 


suggested: C ostus arabicus, Costus speciosus, 

Amomum hirsutum, Saussurea costus [Mabberley] 

— Arabian Costus, Kust-root [Bedevian], Costus Root 

Modern costus is not the same as that known by the ancients — Jaquin, in Loudon. 

T he Arabic COStus is best — white and light, with a 
noticeable pleasant smell; next is the Indian — full, 
light and black like ferula. The third is the Syrian — heavy, 
the colour of box, with a biting smell. The best is new, 
white, full throughout, thick, dry, not worm-eaten, not 
with a stinking smell but with a biting hot taste. 

It is warming and diuretic, expels the menstrual flow, 
and is good for diseases of the uterus applied in 
suppositories, as irrigations [douches], or as warm packs. 
Two ounces (taken in a drink) helps someone bitten by a 
viper, chest conditions and convulsions. It is given for gas 
in the stomach with wine and wormwood [3-26], taken 
with mead [honey wine] it draws out venom, and taken 
in water it draws out worms through the rectum. An 
ointment of it made with oil helps those who have chills 
from fever before an expected fit, and similarly helps the 
paralysed. Rubbed on with water or honey it takes away 
sunburn. It is also mixed in warm compresses and 
antidotes. Some adulterate it by mixing in the strongest 
roots of commagene [1-27]. The difference is easily 
discerned. For this helenium neither burns the tongue nor 
yields a pleasant, strong, biting smell. 

1-16. SCHOINOS 


suggested: Schoenus incanus — Bog Rush 
J uncus conglomeratus, J uncus effusus — Rushes, Sweet Rushes 
J uncus arabicus — Rush, Sea Rush 

see schoenus 4-52 


J uncus odoratus grows in Libya and Arabia and in that 
part of Arabia called Nabataea, and this is the best. The 
Arabic is next, but that from Libya is useless. Choose that 
which is new, red, and full of flowers; which when cut or 
cleft inclines to a purple colour, is thin, smells sweet like a 
rose when it is rubbed between the hands, and bites the 


21 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 


tongue with considerable burning. Use the flower, the 
reeds and the root. It is diuretic, bringing down the 
menstrual flow, and dissolving gaseousness. It causes 
catarrh in the head. It is mildly astringent. It has a 
breaking, digesting and opening strength. The flowers of 
it used in drink are good for bloody vomiting and a 
painful stomach, as well as the lungs, liver and kidneys. It 
is mixed with antidotes, but the root is more astringent 
and therefore is given for a squeamish stomach. One 
teaspoonful is good for dropsy and convulsions, and is 
given for some days with the same amount of pepper. A 
decoction of it as a hip bath is most convenient for 
inflammation around the vulva. It is also called 
Babylonian \juncus ] or teuchitis. 


1-17. KALAMOS EUODES 


suggested: A corus calamus, A corns aromaticus, 

A corus odoratus — Sweet Flag, Sweet Sedge, Myrtle Sedge 
Calamus ciliaris — Indian Palm 


see 1-2, 1-114 



alamus aromaticus grows in India and the best is 


reddish-yellow, thick with knots, and when broken 
it falls into many pieces. The reed is fibrous, somewhat 
white, and slimy to chew, astringent and somewhat 
sharp. Taken as a drink it is able to induce the movement 
of urine. As a result it is good for dropsy, defective 
kidneys, slow and painful urination and hernias, boiled 
either with grapes or seeds of apium [3-77] and taken as a 
drink. It draws out the menstrual flow taken as a drink 
and applied. It helps coughs inhaled either alone or with 
resin termininthos [1-91], the smoke taken in at the mouth 
through a funnel. It is boiled for women's baths and 
infusions, and mixed with warm compresses and 
perfumes to make them smell sweeter. 


22 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-18. BALSAMON 


suggested: Opalobalsamum, Balsamodendron gileadense, 
Balsamodendron opalobalsamum, Commiphora opalobalsamum, 

A myris gileadensis — Balm of Gilead, Balm of Mecca 
Amyris kataf, Commiphora kataf, Balsamodendron kataf 
— Balsam of Kataf 

T he tree balsamum is noted, similar in size to lycium 
[1-132] or pyracantha [1-169, 1-170], with leaves like 
rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98] but a great deal paler and much more 
flourishing. It grows only in Judaea in a certain valley and 
in Egypt. Varying considerably in ruggedness, tallness 
and slenderness, the part of the shrub that is thin, with 
filaments, is called theriston, which may be because it is 
easily mowed because of its slenderness. 0 pobalsamum is 
the juice exuded by the tree when it is cut with iron nails 
in the heat of the hottest days. But it drops so little that 
every year they can get no more than six or seven congii 
[three litre units approximately] of it, and a weight of it is 
sold in that place for double its weight in silver. The best 
juice is new, with a strong smell, pure and not inclining to 
sweetness, dissolving easily, smooth, astringent, and a 
little biting to the tongue. It is prepared in various ways 
for there are some who mix ointments with it such as 
termininthos [1-91], cyprinum [1-65], schininum [1-90], 
susinum [1-62] or liliaceum [1-62], balaninum [1-40, 4-160] 
and metopium [1-71], honey, waxy ointments, myrsinum 
[1-48], or very liquid cyprinum [1-65]. These are easily 
discerned for if the unmixed is dropped on a woollen 
cloth and afterwards washed out it makes no stain or spot 
on it, but that which is counterfeited sticks. The pure 
when put into water or milk is easily diffused and turns 
like milk, but that which is counterfeited swims on the 
top like oil, turning round or diffusing itself like a star. 
But in time the pure will also turn thick and test worse 
than any. Those are deceived who think that it is pure 
when it is dropped into water, goes down to the bottom 
first, and afterwards, easily diffusible, rises up again. The 
wood is called xylobalsamum and the best liked is new 
with slender stalks — red, sweet smelling, with a smell 
somewhat resembling opobalsamum. Suitable use is made 
of the fruit too. Choose that which is yellow, full, great, 
heavy, biting in taste and hot in the mouth, somewhat 
similar in taste to opobalsamum. From the town Petra a 



Balsamodendron opalobalsamum 
after FAGUET — 1888 


23 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 


seed like hypericum [3-171] is brought with which they 
counterfeit this fruit. You may discover this because it is 
bigger, and empty with no strength, and tastes of pepper. 

The juice has the most strength as it heats the most, 
cleaning away things that darken the pupils, and curing 
abrasions around the vulva applied with waxy ointments 
and rosaceum [1-53]. It expels the menstrual flow and the 
afterbirth, is an abortifacient, and rubbed on dissolves 
chills and the filthy matter of boils. Taken as a drink it is a 
concoction for rejuvenation and moving urine. Given 
with milk it is also good for difficult breathers and those 
who have taken a drink of aconitum [4-77, 4-78]; also for 
those bitten by snakes. It is mixed with fatigue removers, 
warm compresses and antidotes. Generally the juice of 
the balsamum has the most strength, next to that the fruit, 
but the wood has the least strength of all. Taken in a drink 
the fruit is good for pleurisy, pneumonia, coughs, 
sciatica, epilepsy, vertigo, asthma, griping, difficulty in 
conception, and for those bitten by snakes. It is suitable 
for women's inhalations in fumes, and boiled for hip 
baths it opens the vulva and extracts moisture. The wood 
has the same virtues the fruit has but to a lesser degree. 
Boiled in water and taken as a drink it helps in digestion, 
griping, those bitten by snakes, and convulsions, and it 
expels urine. With dry iris it is good for wounds in the 
head. It also extracts scaly bones. It is mixed for the 
thickening of ointments. 

1-19. ASPALATHOS 


SUGGESTED: A spalathus indica — Indian Aspalathus 

A spal athus is a woody kind of shrub with many prickly 
thorns — growing in Istrus, Nisyrus, Syria and 
Rhodes — which the ointment makers use for thickening 
their ointments. The best is heavy, and after it has been 
harvested inclining to a red or a purple colour, thick, 
fragrant, and bitter to the taste. There is also another kind 
of it with scattered bristles or thorns — white, woody, 
without any smell — which is considered the worst. It has 
a heating and astringent quality. As a result, boiled in 
wine and gargled, it is good for an ulcerated mouth and 
gangrenous ulceration in the genitals. It is infused for 
unclean discharges and fetid nasal discharges; and put 


24 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


92 Lupus falic'larius. 



25 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 


Croci folia. Crociflores, 249 
blmcr. 6 *(f«it blumcn . 



26 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


into a pessary it is an abortifacient. A decoction stops 
bowels, and taken as a drink it stops bloody vomiting, 
and dissolves painful urination and gaseousness. It is also 
called sphagnon, or phasganon, the Syrians call it diaxylon, 
and some, erysisceptron. 

1-20. BRUON 

suggested: Lupus salictari us, Lupulus, 

H umulus [Fuchs, Brunfels], Lupulus mas [Bauhin], 

H umulus lupulus [Linnaeus] — Hops 

Splachnum and Bryum have been used to name various mosses in modern times 

[Loudon]. 


B ryum is sometimes called splanchnon. It is found on 
trees such as cedars, white poplars or oaks: the best 
grows on cedar, next is that which grows on white 
poplar. That which smells sweetest and is white is the 
best, but that which is black is the worst. Bryum is 
astringent. Used either hot or cold it is good in decoctions 
made for all those disorders requiring bathing around the 
vulva. It is mixed with ointments made for suppositories, 
with other ointments for the astringent quality in it, for 
the preparation of perfumes, and is put into medicines 
called acopi [to remove fatigue]. 


1-21. AGALLOCHON 

suggested: A qu'Uaria agallocha , Cynometra agallocha, 

A loexylon agallochum — Agallochum, Indian Aloe Tree, 
Calambac Tree 

A qu it aria malaccensis — Eagle-wood — Agallochum 

fragrant resinous heartwood 


A gallochum is a kind of wood like thyine wood that is 
brought out of India and Arabia distinguished by 
spots of a sweet scent, somewhat astringent to the taste, 
with some bitterness, and bark like soft skin somewhat 
over-coloured. 

When it is chewed and a decoction of it is gargled up 
and down in the mouth it causes sweet breath. The 
powder sprinkled on the whole body serves to deodorise 
it. It is used in perfumes instead of frankincense. One 
teaspoonful of the roots (taken in a drink) lessens moist 



A quilaria malaccensis 
after FAGUET — 1888 


27 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 


disorders of the stomach, its weakness and heat. It is good 
taken as a drink with water for those who have pains of 
the rectum, for the liver, dysentery and griping. 

1-22. NASKAPHTHON 


UNKNOWN 

nasceus— nascor — plants used by women 


N ascaphthum some call narcaphthon and this is also 
brought out of India. It is a bark like the rind of the 
mulberry tree, used for a perfume for the sweet smell it 
has, and put into artificial perfumes. Taken as inhalations 
of fumes or smoke it is good for constriction of the vulva. 

1-23. KANKAMON 


suggested: A myris ambroisiaca, Protium icicaraba, 

Idea icicarabica — Gum Elemi Tree 

C ancamum is the oozing of an Arabic tree resembling 
myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116], poisonous to the taste, 
which they use as a perfume. They make a perfume with 
it for their cloths with myrrh and styrax. It is reported to 
be able to make fat bodies lean — a half teaspoonful taken 
as a drink with water or vinegar and honey for many 
consecutive days. It is given to the splenetic, epileptic and 
asthmatic. Taken with honey and water it brings down 
the menstrual flow, and it quickly takes off scars in the 
eyes and heals their moisture diluted in wine. For gums 
rotten from moisture and toothache it helps as nothing 
else can do. 


1-24. KUPHI 

Cyphi — a perfume 

C yphi is the composition of a perfume welcome to the 
Gods. The priests in Egypt use it abundantly. It is 
also mixed with antidotes and it is given to the asthmatic 
in drinks. There are many ways that the manufacture of it 
is carried out, including the following. Take one litre of 
Cyprus [1-124], the same amount of ripe juniper berries. 


28 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


six kilos of stoned plump raisins of the sun, two and a half 
kilos of resin (cleaned again), a half kilo each of calamus 
aromaticus [1-2, 1-17, 1-114], aspalathus [1-19] and juncus 
odoratus [4-52, 1-16], twelve teaspoonfuls of myrrh [1-77, 
1-73, 4-116], five litres of old wine and one kilo of honey. 
Having removed the stones from the raisins pound them 
and work them together with the wine and myrrh. 
Pound and sift the other things, mix them with these, and 
let them drink up the liquid for one day. Afterwards boil 
the honey until it comes to a glutinous consistency, mix 
the melted resin carefully with it, and then having 
pounded all the other things diligently together, put 
them into a clay jar. 

1-25. KROKOS 

suggested: Croci flores et folia [Fuchs], Crocus sativus 
[Bauhin], Crocus sativus var officinalis [Linnaeus] 

— Saffron Crocus 

C orycian crocum is the best for bodily use — new and 
well-coloured, having somewhat white tendrils, 
somewhat long, having all its parts hard to break, 
without fat, full, colouring the hands, not decayed or 
moist, alluring in scent and a little sharper; for that which 
is not such is either old or steeped. The next best after the 
Corycian comes from that tract of land near Lycia; and 
that from Olympus [a mountain] in Lycia; then that from 
Aegis Aetolia. But the Cyrenaican and that from 
Centuripinum are the weakest in strength of all in Sicily, 
all of them being cultivated like vegetables. Nevertheless, 
because it is full of juice and well coloured, they in Italy 
(dying thyine wood with it) do use this, and for this it is 
sold at a high rate. For medicine, that which was 
previously described is more effective. It is adulterated 
with a mixture of crogomagma [1-26] pounded or daubed 
with sapa [syrup of new wine], lithargyrum [5-102] or 
plumbago [5-100] pounded together with it to make it 
weigh more. All this is discerned by the dustiness that is 
found amongst it, and by the smell of the boiled down 
new wine it has. 

It is digestive, softening, somewhat astringent and 
diuretic. It causes a good colour, and it is good taken as a 
drink with passum [raisin wine] against overindulgence. 


29 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 


It stops excessive discharges of the eyes applied with 
woman's milk. It is effective mixed with drinks that are 
taken internally, and with suppositories and poultices for 
the uterus and the perineum. It works against venereal 
diseases, and rubbed on it soothes inflammation that 
accompanies erysipelas [a skin inflammation], and it is 
good for inflammations of the ears. They say also that it 
will kill one if three teaspoonfuls are taken as a drink with 
water. In order to pound it smaller it must be dried in the 
sun in a hot ceramic jar, and it must often be quickly 
turned. The root of it (taken in a drink with passu m [raisin 
wine]) causes an urge to urinate. It is also called castor, or 
cynomorphos, and the Magi call it sanguis H erculis. 


1-26. KROKOMAGMA 


SUGGESTED: Crocus sativus var officinalis [Linnaeus] 
— Saffron Oil Dregs 



rocomagma is made from oil of saffron, the aromatic 


V-^part squeezed out and made into lozenges. The best 
is sweet-smelling, somewhat resembling the taste of 
myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116], heavy and black, with no 
woodiness in it; and which sufficiently diluted is the 
colour of saffron — smooth, yellow underneath, strongly 
colouring the teeth and tongue and lasting many hours 
together, like that from Syria. It has the ability to clean 
and cleans away things which darken the pupils. It is 
diuretic, softening, digestive and warming. It somewhat 
resembles the strength of saffron for it is made from this. 


1-27. ELENION 


suggested: Elenium, lnula,Enula campania [Fuchs], 
Helenium vuigare [Bauhin], Inula helenium [Linnaeus], 
Inula campana, Aster helenium, Aster officinalis 
— Common Inula, Horse Elder, Elecampane 

H elenium has narrow leaves like verbascum [4-104], 
only sharper and somewhat long. In some places it 
puts out no stalks at all. The root below is fragrant, great, 
somewhat sharp, from which for planting (as in lilies or 
arum) the most pleasant shoots are taken. It grows in 
hilly, shady and moist places. The root is dug up in the 


30 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Asarum europaeum 
after FAGUET — 1888 


31 


BOOK ONE: AROMATICS 



Cassia fistula 
after FAGUET — 1888 


32 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


summer, cut and dried. A decoction (taken as a drink) 
induces the movement of urine and the menstrual flow. 
The root itself (taken in a syrup with honey) helps 
coughs, asthma, hernias, convulsions, gaseousness, and 
the bites of venomous creatures, being generally 
warming. The leaves boiled in wine are effectively 
applied to those who have sciatica. The root is good for 
the stomach preserved in passu m [raisin wine]. The 
confectioners, drying it a little and afterwards boiling it, 
then steep it in cold water and put it into a decoction they 
keep in jars for use. Pounded and taken in a drink it is 
good for bloody excretions. It is also called symphyton, 
persica, medica, orestion, nectarion, c/eonia, rubus idaeus or 
verbascum idaeum; the Romans call it terminalium , others, 
inula cam pan a, and the Egyptians call it lone. 

1-28. ELENION AIGUPTION 


UNKNOWN 

C rateuas mentions another helenium that grows in 
Egypt. It is a herb with branches a foot long 
spreading on the ground like serpyllum [3-46], its many 
leaves around the branches like those of lenticule [Tlentil] 
but longer; the roots a pale colour, the thickness of the 
little finger, thin below but thicker above, with a black 
rind. It grows in places bordering on the sea and on 
hillocks and rocks. One root of it (taken in a drink with 
wine) is able to help those bitten by snakes. 



Inula helenium 
after THIEBAULT — 1888 


33 


OILS 


OILS 

1-29. ELAION OMOTRIBES 


suggested: 0 lea europaea, Oleasativa, Olea lancifola 
— New Oil from Unripe Olives 

O il from unripe olives is the best to use for health. 

The best is considered that which is new, not biting, 
with a sweet smell. This is also effective for the 
preparation of ointments. It is also good for the stomach 
because it is therapeutic for the bowels, and when held in 
the mouth it contracts loose gums, strengthens the teeth 
and represses sweating. 

1-30. ELAION KOINON 


suggested: 0 lea europaea — Old Olive Oil 

T hat which is the oldest and most fat is the most fit for 
bodily uses. Commonly all oil is warming and softens 
flesh, keeping the body from being easily chilled with 
cold, making it more ready to perform actions. It is good 
for the digestive system, and has a softening strength, 
dulling the strength of ulcerating medicines in mixtures. 
It is given against poisons, taken immediately and 
vomited up again. A half-pint purges, taken as a drink 
with the same amount of barley water or with water. Six 
glassfuls (boiled with rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98] and taken as a 
drink) are given effectively to those troubled with 
griping, and it expels worms. This is administered 
especially for obstruction of the intestines, but the older 
oil is more heating and violently dispersing. It is a good 
ointment to sharpen the eyesight. If there is no old oil at 
hand, new oil must be mixed as follows. Pour it out into 
the best jar at hand, and boil it until it is the thickness of 
honey. Then use it, for it is has an equal strength. 


34 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-31. ELAION AGRIAS ELAIAS 

suggested: 0 lea sylvestris, 0 lea sylvestris var oleaster 
— Wild Olive Oil 

O il from the wild olive is more astringent and the 
second choice for good health. It is convenient 
instead of rosaceum [1-53] for headaches, and stops 
sweating and hair falling out [alopecia]. It cleans off 
dandruff, ulcers that penetrate the head, parasitic skin 
diseases, and psoriasis, and it keeps grey hair away for a 
long time from those who are rubbed with it daily. 

1-32. ELAION LEUKON 


To Whiten Oil 

O il is made white as follows. Taking oil which is a 
clear colour and not over a year old, pour it out into 
a new broad-mouthed ceramic jar. Let there be an 
amount of fifty pints. Afterwards, placing it in the sun, 
pour it back again with a spoon every day around noon, 
letting it fall down from on high, so that it may be altered 
by frequent rolling and beating, and foam. Then on the 
eighth day steep fifty teaspoonfuls of clean fenugreek in 
warm water, put it thus softened into the former oil 
without straining out the water. Also add the same 
weight of pinewood now (as fat as may be and cut into 
small pieces), and let eight more days pass. After this time 
stir the oil up and down again with a spoon. Finally, if it is 
white, pour it out into a new jar (first rinsed around with 
old wine) and store it, having first scattered in eleven 
teaspoonfuls of the corolla of melilot flowers [3-48] and 
the same amount of iris. If it is not (yet white) it must be 
set out again in the sun and treated until it becomes 
white. 


1-33. ELAION SIKUONION 

suggested: 0 lea europaea, Olea sativa, 0 lea lancifola, 
Sicyonium — Sicyonian Oil 

W e may prepare Sicyonian olive oil as follows. Pour 
out four and a half litres of new unripe olive oil 


35 


OILS 


and the white oil [above] into a broad-mouthed kettle 
covered with tin, add two and a quarter litres of water, 
and boil it over a gentle fire stirring softly. When it has 
boiled up twice take it away from the fire, and having 
cooled it, skim off the oil with a spoon. Afterwards add 
other water, boil it again, and repeat the procedure, and 
then store it. This oil is mostly made in Sicyonia and is 
therefore called sicyonium. It is somewhat warming, 
suitable for fevers and affected nerves. Women use it to 
have a clean skin. 


1-34. RUPOS 


Grime from the baths 

T he scrapings which are taken up in public baths are 
able to heat, soften, and disperse fluids, and are good 
for splits in the perineum, and for rubbing on joints. 

1-35. RUPOS PALAISTRA 


Grime from the wrestling school 

T he dirt or filth from the wrestling school helps the 
joints, applied as a warm compress. 

1-36. RUPOS GYMNASION 


Grime from the gymnasium walls 

T he filth on the walls of the gymnasium (or that which 
is scraped off from statues) warms and dissolves 
tubercles [growths] that ripen only with difficulty, and it is 
helpful for abrasions, the removal of scaliness, and old 
ulcers. 


36 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-37. ELAIOMELI 

suggested: 0 lea sylvestris, 0 lea sylvestris var oleaster 
— Wild Olive Oil 

E laeagnus angusti folia — Oleaster, Oil Tree, 
Zakkoum Oil Plant 
Elaeis guineensis — Oil Palm 

Elaeomeli [Pliny] — 0 lea europaea 
— Manna exuded from the branches of the Olive tree 

Elaeoptene is the liquid part of a volatile oil, Stearoptene the solid part of a volatile 

oil, a camphor. 


E laeomeli flows out of a certain stem and root of a plant 
growing in Palmyra, a region of Syria, more thick 
than honey and sweet in taste, which (taken as a drink of 
two cups to one half-pint of water) drives dyspepsia and 
bilious fluids out through the bowels. Those who take it 
become sluggish and deficient in virility, but this should 
not disturb us. They are to be kept awake and not 
allowed to be overcome by too deep a sleep. 

Oil is also prepared from the fat of the young olive 
shoots, the old oil being best — thick, fat, not cloudy. It 
warms, and is effective rubbed on for those things that 
darken the pupils, and daubed on is good for leprosy and 
painful nerves. 


1-38. KIKINON ELAION 


suggested: Ricinus [Fuchs], Ricinus vulgaris [Bauhin], 

R icinis communis [Linnaeus] — Castor Oil Plant, 
Palma Christi 

[other usage] Croton Oil Plant, Purging Croton, Tiglium 
— Croton tiglium, Croton acutus, Croton jamalgota, Pavana, 
Tiglium officinalis 

see 4-164 


C icinum is prepared as follows. Take ripe cicinum 
seeds (as much as you think suitable) and dry them 
in the sun, scattering them along as they used to do 
grapes until the bark that closes them in when broken 
apart falls off; then gathering the flesh or pulp together 
put it into a mortar, and having pounded it carefully put 
it into a kettle with a tin cover that has water in it, and 



R icinis communis 
after FAGUET — 1888 


37 


OILS 


placing fire underneath, make it boil. When you have 
removed all the moisture, take the kettle from the fire and 
collect the oil that swims on top with a spoon and bottle 
it. Because the Egyptians use it in great abundance they 
prepare it differently. After they have picked them they 
place the seeds into a mill and grind them carefully; then 
throwing the grinds into baskets they squeeze it out with 
a press. The seeds are in season or ripe when they are rid 
of the small bladders that enfold them. 

This oil of cicinum is good for ulcers that penetrate the 
head, parasitical skin diseases, inflammation of the 
perineum, and obstructions and damage to the uterus, as 
well as scars faeddS [from goring by horned animals], and 
earache. Mixed with plasters it makes them more 
effective. Taken as a drink it draws out watery matter 
through the bowels, and it also draws out worms. 

1-39. ELAION AMY GD ALIN ON 


suggested: A magdalinum — M etopium — Almond Oil 
— Prunus amygdalus var amara — Bitter Almond 

RAW SEED OF BITTER ALMOND IS POISONOUS. 

A magdalinum oil or metopium is made as follows. 

Having picked and dried four quarts of bitter 
almonds beat them gently with a wooden pestle in a 
mortar until they are pulped. Pour on them one pint of 
hot water and let them absorb it for half an hour, from 
which time beat it strongly again. Then press it on a 
board, squeeze it out, and take that which sticks to your 
fingers into a spoon. Afterwards pour a half-pint of water 
into that which was squeezed out, and allow it to be 
absorbed, and repeat as before. Four quarts of seeds make 
one half-pint of oil. It is effective against womb pains, 
constriction, the womb turning around, and things that 
darken the same places, as well as headaches, ear 
problems, resonance, and tinnitus. It helps inflammation 
of the kidneys, illness meientes [urination], stones 
[urinary, kidney], asthma and splenitis. Furthermore it 
removes spots from the face, sunburn, and wrinkles on 
the skin mixed with honey, the root of lily and Cyprian 
rosewax. With wine it mends moisture of the pupils of 
the eye, and removes penetrative ulcers and dandruff. 


38 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Ricinis communis 
after FAGUET — 1888 


39 




OILS 


)7i Raphanus /atoms, 

Rfttidf. 



40 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-40. BALANINON ELAION 

suggested: M yroba/an citrina,Terminalia citrina 
— Hara Nut Tree 

Q uercus infectoria, Q uercus lusitanica — Acorns from Quercus 
species — Gall Oak, Dyer's Oak, Nut Gall Oak 

Balanites aegyptica,Xymenia aegyptica 
— Thorn Tree, Egyptian Balsam, Zachum Oil Tree 



Balanites aegyptica 
after FAGUET — 1875 


see 4-143, 4-160 


I n the same way oil balaninum is prepared. It has 
strength to clean spots, freckles, down on the face, and 
darkening cataracts and it purges the intestines. It is bad 
for the stomach. Poured in with goose fat it is good for 
earache, ear resonance and tinnitus. 

1-41. ELAION SESAMINON KAI 
KARUINON 

suggested: Sesamum indicum, Sesamum orientale, 
Sesamum oleiferum — Sesame Oil, Sesame [seeds], Gingelly, 

Gingili 

Carya —Juglans regia — - Walnuts 
N ux pontica, N ux avellana, Corylus avellana [Linnaeus] 

— Hazelnuts 

B oth sesaminum and caryinum oil which is made from 
carya kernels are prepared in the same way as those 
mentioned above. They have the same strength as 
balaninum [ 1 - 40 ]. 


41 


OILS 


1-42. UOSKUAMINON ELAION 


suggested: Hyoscyamus flavus [Fuchs], 

H yoscyamus niger [Linnaeus] — Henbane, Hen Bell, 
Hyoscyamus 

H yoscyamus al bus— White Henbane, 

Oil of Henbane 

POISONOUS 

H yosciaminum is prepared as follows. Take dry new 
white seed, and having pounded it steep it in hot 
water as was previously described in amagdalinum [1-39]. 
Then place it in the sun and mix it until it turns black and 
has a strong smell. Then, having strained it through a 
linen cloth and having squeezed it, store it. It is good for 
earaches, and is mixed with suppositories, having a 
softening quality. 

1-43. KNIDELAION 

suggested: Gnidium, Cnidium, Daphnegnidium, 

T hymelaea hirsuta — Oil from Grains, Seeds of Gnidium, 
Spurge Flax 

see 4-173 


G nidium is prepared in the same way from rubbings 
of grains [seeds] that have been pounded and 
pilled. Taken as a drink it is able to loosen the bowels. 

1-44. KNIKELAION 

suggested: Cartamus, Crocus hortensis [Fuchs], 
Carthamum officinarum, Cnicussativus [Bauhin], 
Carthamus tinctorius [Linnaeus] — Safflower, Saffron Thistle 

[Mabberley] 

see 4-119,4-190 


I n the same way cnicinum is made which has the same 
uses as the oil from rubbed grain [above] but is 
somewhat weaker. 


42 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


EIcnnnm 

2lfont. 



43 



OILS 



44 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-45. RAPHANELAION 


SUGGESTED: R adix, R adicula [Fuchs, Brunfels, Linnaeus], 

R aphanus sativus — Radish Seed Oil, 

Common Cultivated Radish 

R aphaninum is made from its own seed, as are the rest. 

It is good for those who by some sickness have got 
psoriasis, and it cleans away rough skin around the face. 
Those in Egypt use it, boiling it with their sauce. 

1-46. MELANTHELAION 

suggested: M elanthium hortenseprimum, 

Schwartz Kommich [Fuchs], Nigella sativa [Linnaeus] 

— Common Fennel Flower, Black Cumin 

M elanthium alterum Damascenum vocatum, 

N igella hortensis altera [Fuchs], N igella angusti folia [Bauhin], 

N igella damascena [Linnaeus] — Love in a Mist, 

Devil in a Bush 

M elanthium sylvestre, Cuminum sylvestre alterum [Fuchs], 

N igella arvensis [Linnaeus] 

POISONOUS 

M elanthium has the same uses, and is prepared like 

raphaninum [1-45]. 

1-47. SINAPELAION 


suggested: N apy , Sinapis primum genus [Fuchs], 

Sinapi hortense [Brunfels], Brassica nigra, 

Sinapis sinapioides, Sinapis nigra — Black Mustard 

Sinapis alba [Linnaeus], Leucosinapis officinalis, Brassica alba 
— White Mustard, Salad Mustard, Cultivated Mustard, 
Mustard Oil 

S inapi num is prepared by grinding the mustard seed 
small and steeping it in warm water, then mixing the 
oil with it and straining it out together. It is good for 
diseases of a long duration, drawing out faulty fluids 
from far within. 


45 


OILS 


1-48. MURSINELAION 

suggested: M yrtus communis var romana 
— Broad-leaved Myrtle 

see 1-155, 4-146, 4-165b 


M yrsinum oil is prepared as follows. Take the tender 
leaves of black myrtle (whether wild or planted), 
beat them, pressing out the juice, then mixing the same 
amount of unripe olive oil with the juice warm it over 
coals until it is boiled together, spooning up that which 
floats on top. An easier method of preparation is to boil 
the tenderest leaves (after they have been pounded) in 
water and oil, and to skim off the oil that swims on the 
top. Another way is (having laid the leaves in the sun) to 
steep them in oil. There are some thicken the oil first with 
malicoria (?), cupressus [1-102] and juncus odoratus [4-52, 
1-16], 

The most effective oil inclines towards bitterness in its 
taste, and is oily, green and transparent, and smells of 
myrtle. It is astringent and hardening; as a result it is 
effective mixed with medications for hardening. It is 
good for burns, penetrative ulcers in the head, dandruff, 
pimple eruptions, chapped skin, galls (?), joints, and 
joints loosening. It represses sweats, and is good for all 
things that need an astringent or thickening. 

1-49. DAPHNELAION 


suggested: Laurel Oil — Laurus-A lexandrina [Fuchs], 

D aphne-A lexandrina [Brunfels], R uscus hypoglossum 
[Linnaeus], Ruscus hippoglossum, U vularia, Baslingua 
— Laurel of Caesar [Mabberley], Horse Tongue, 
Double Tongue 

Laurus nobilis — Sweet Bay, Laurel, Roman Laurel 

L aurinum is made from overripe bay berries (which are 
ready to fall from the tree) boiled in water, because 
they send up a certain kind of fat from the husk enclosing 
them, which is squeezed out by hand and scooped up in 
spoons. Some first thicken oil of unripe olives with 
cypress, juncus odoratus [4-52, 1-16] and calamus [1-17], 
and after this (throwing in the tender leaves of bay) boil 
them together. There are some who add bay berries to 


46 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


this until it smells enough of bay; some also mix in styrex 
[1-79] and myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116]. The best bay for the 
manufacture of oil is mountainous and broad-leaved. 
The best oil of bay is new and greenish in colour — very 
bitter and sharp. It is warming and softening, opening 
blood vessels that were shut, and overcoming 
exhaustion. It is good for all infirmities around the 
tendons, earaches, and for those troubled with dripping 
mucus. It is an excellent ointment, as good as anything 
else for those with kidneys inflamed because of cold. 
Taken as a drink it is nauseating. 

1-50. SCHINELAION 


suggested: Schinus molle, Pistacia lentiscus, 

Bursera gummifera, Sideroxylon mastichodendron 
Mastic Tree, Pepper Tree, Herb Mastic, Oil of Mastic 

Schinus molle is now an American genus; Bursera gummifera is now a West Indian tree 

[Loudon], 

T erminthinus — [old English] Termenteyne 
— Turpentine Tree — Pistacia terebinthus 



S chininum [ lentiscinum ] is made from ripe berries the 
same as oil of bay, and thickened before use. It heals 
parasitic skin diseases on beasts of burden and dogs 
[veterinary]. It is effective mixed with suppositories, 
remedies to remove fatigue, and medications for leprosy. 
It also stops sweating. 

T er min thin os [1-91] is also made the same way. It cools 
and binds. 


Bursera gummi folia 
after FAGUET — 1878 


1-51. MASTICHELAION 

suggested: Schinus molle, Pistacia lentiscus, 

Bursera gummifera, Sideroxylon mastichodendron 
— Mastic Tree, Pepper Tree, Herb Mastic, Oil of Mastic 

M astichinum is made from mastic pounded into small 
pieces. It is good for disorders in the womb — 
gently warming, astringent, softening. It is also good laid 
on the stomach for hardened swellings, for the 
abdominal cavity and dysentery; and for cleaning away 
spots on the face, and causing a good colour. The best is 
compounded in the isle of Chios. 


47 


OINTMENTS 


OINTMENTS 

1-52. MURON SUNTHESIS 


MEDICINAL OINTMENTS 


S eeing that ointments also are effective for some 
diseases, either mixed with other medicines, dropped 
on, poured on, or smelled, we thought it logical to make 
this suggestion: that those who test them must determine 
whether the ointments smell exactly of those herbs from 
which the mixture is made. This method of judgement is 
the best. Yet this is not observed in some ointments 
because of the prevalence of stronger ingredients, as in 
amaracinum [1-68], crocinum [1-64] and tdinum [1-57], as 
well as some others, which are tested by sampling them 
often. 


1-53. RHODINON 


suggested: R osa, R osa hortensis et sylvestris [Fuchs], 

Rosa rubra [Bauhin], R osa gallica [Linnaeus] 

— Common Rose, French Rose — Oil of Roses 

R osaceum oil is made as follows. Take five pounds 
eight ounces of juncus odoratus [4-52, 1-16] and 
twenty pounds five ounces of oil; bruise the juncus and 
steep it in water, then boil it, stirring it up and down. 
Strain it out into the twenty pounds five ounces of oil, put 
a thousand counted dry rose petals into it, and having 
rubbed your hands with honey stir the mixture up and 
down (every now and then squeezing the petals gently), 
then after leaving them for a night, press them out. When 
the dregs have sunk down, change the receiving jar, and 
store it in large bowls wiped with honey. Then throwing 
the strained roses in a small washing jar pour on them 
eight pounds and five ounces of the thickened oil and 
strain them out again, and this will be the second 
pressing; and if you will, for a third or fourth time pour 
oil in again on the roses, and strain them out again. A first, 
second, third and fourth oil are made. Each time rub the 
inside of the jars with honey. If you mean to make a 
second insertion put the same number of new dry rose 


48 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


petals into the oil that was first pressed out, and stirring it 
up and down with hands smeared with honey, press it 
out; and repeat in the same way the second, third and 
fourth time, pressing it out again; and as often as you do 
this put in fresh roses (paring off their stems) for this way 
it becomes stronger. The oil can take this addition of roses 
seven times, but by no means any farther. Also rub the 
press with honey. You ought to carefully separate the oil 
from the juice for if even a little of it is left in there it will 
corrupt the oil. Some use the roses alone, cut off their 
stems or whites, and infuse them by placing them in the 
sun, having the amount of half a pound of petals to one 
pint of oil, changing the petals every eight days, and 
leaving them in the sun for forty days, and then storing it. 
Some first thicken the oil by adding calamus [1-17] and 
aspalathus [1-19]. Some include anchusa [4-23 to 4-26] to 
give it a pleasant colour, and salt so that it does not spoil. 

It is astringent and cooling, good for cleaning and 
mixing with poultices. Taken as a drink it loosens the 
bowels and cools a heated stomach. It fills up hollow 
boils, and makes soothing medications for malignancies. 
It is a rub for penetrative ulcers, catarrh in the head, and 
heated eruptions; and a lotion for headache as well as a 
mouth rinse for the start of a toothache. It is good rubbed 
on for eyelids that have grown hard, and it is good given 
as a suppository for rosiones [gnawing corrosion] or 
irritations of the intestines and the vulva. 

1-54. ELATINON 

suggested: Elatinum, Ecballium elaterium, Ecballium agreste, 

M omordica elaterium, Elaterium officinale — Oil of Cucumber, 
Squirting Cucumber 

H aving broken and bruised the elaterium, put it into a 
washing jar, and pour on it oil of unripe olives. Let 
it remain for three days, and then take it up into a basket 
and press it out. Use the same weight of each ingredient, 
then, having stored it in a clean jar, use it. It has the same 
uses as the rosaceum [1-53] but it does not soothe the 
bowels. 


51 


OINTMENTS 


1-55. MELINON 


suggested: Cotonea malus, Cydonia [Fuchs], 

M ala cotonea minora [Bauhin], Pyrus cydonia [Linnaeus], 
Cydonia oblonga, Cydonia vulgaris — Quince 

O il of melinum is prepared as follows. Having mixed 
together six pints of oil and ten pints of water, add 
three ounces of bruised spatha [1-150] or elaterium [4-155] 
and one ounce of juncus odoratus [4-52, 1-16], and after 
letting them lie together for a day, boil them. Afterwards, 
(having strained out the oil) put it into a broad-mouthed 
jar, lay over it a mat of reeds or some thin covering and 
place the fruit of cydonia on top of it, covering them with 
cloths. Allow them (to stand thus) for many days until the 
oil has extracted the strength from the quinces. Some 
cover the fruit with cloths for ten days so that the sweet 
smell may be kept in and not breathe out, afterwards they 
steep them in oil two days and two nights, and then press 
it out and bottle it. It is astringent and cooling — effective 
for scabies [itchy parasitical disease], ulcers, dandruff, 
chilblains and shingles [herpes]. Used as drops it is good 
for open disorders in the vulva, and given as a 
suppository it stops urinary urgency, and represses 
sweating. It is taken as a drink against vomiting from 
ingesting dried beetles [2-65], bupressedes [2-66] and 
pi norum [1-86]. The best is considered to smell like the 
fruit of cydonia. 

1-56. OINANTHINON 


SUGGESTED: CiSSUS digitata — Wild Grape, Sorrel Vine 
Vitis labrusca— Wild Grapes 

O enanthemum. Having dried the sweet-smelling 
shoots or buds of the wild grape, put it into oil of 
unripe olives and stir it around, churn it upside down 
and leave it so for two days. Afterwards strain it out and 
store it. It is astringent, equivalent to rosaceum [1-53], 
except it neither loosens nor softens the bowels. That 
which carries the smell of the shoots or buds is the most 
approved of. 


52 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-57. TELINON 


suggested: Foenograecum, Foenumgraecum [Fuchs], 
Foenumgraecum sativum [Bauhin], 

Trigonelia foenum-graecum [Linnaeus], Telinum 
— Oil of Fenugreek 

T ake five pounds of fenugreek, nine pounds of oil, one 
pound of calamus [1-17] and two pounds of Cyprus 
[1-124], steep the herbs in the oil for seven days stirring it 
up and down three times a day, and afterwards press it 
out and store it. There are some who use cardamomum 
[1-5] instead of calamus [1-17], and opobalsamum [1-18] 
instead of Cyprus, and steep them together. Others first 
thicken the oil with these, and afterwards steep the 
fenugreek in there and strain it out. It is able to soften 
mature abscesses, and is especially good for hard lumps 
around the uterus, and for obstinate body cavities, 
dripped in when it becomes dry around those places, the 
moist fluids having been formerly evacuated. Administer 
it for inflammation in the perineum, and for the 
unproductive urge to evacuate. It cleans dandruff and 
penetrative ulcers in the head, and it is good for burns 
and chilblains. It gets off spots of sunburn with wax, and 
it is mixed with medicines made to clean the face. Choose 
that which is new, scours the hands, is bittersweet in taste 
and does not smell too much like fenugreek, for that is 
the best. 


1-58. SAMPSUCHINON 

suggested: A maracus, M aiorana [Fuchs], M ajorana vulgaris 
[Bauhin], Sampsuchum, Sampsucum, Origanum majorum 
[Pliny], Origanum majorana [Linneaus], 

Origanum majoranoides, M ajorana horten sis 
— Sweet Marjoram, Knotted Marjoram 

T ake an amount each of serpyllum [3-46], cassia, 
abrotanum [3-29], flowers of sisymbrium [2-155], leaves 
of myrtle [1-55, 4-146] and sampsuchum that by guess you 
shall think suitable, having respect for the strength of 
each. Beat all these together, and pour on them unripe 
olive oil but not enough to overwhelm the strength of 
those things which are steeped in it, and so leave it alone 
for four days. Afterwards strain it and take the same 


55 


OINTMENTS 


amount of the same fresh herbs again and steep them for 
another four days to make it stronger. Choose 
sampsuchum that is a black, greenish colour, strongly 
scented and quite sharp. This oil is warming and sharp, 
reducing the intensity of symptoms. It is good for the 
closing up and distortions of the vulva, extracts the 
menstrual flow and afterbirth, is an abortifacient, and 
refreshes constriction of the vulva. It lessens pains of the 
abdomen and groin. It is best used with honey since it 
hardens places with excessive astringency, and rubbed 
on it disperses exhaustion. It is effectively mixed with 
poultices for tetanus and for other kinds of convulsions. 

1-59. OKIMINON 

suggested: Ocimum exiguum, 0 cimum minutum, 
Ocimum mediocre, Ocimum magnum [Fuchs], Ocimum basilicum, 
Basilicum — Oil of Basil — Basil, Sweet Basil 

T ake twenty pounds of oil and eleven pounds eight 
ounces of basil in weight, take off the leaves, steep 
them in the oil for a night and a day, then press it out and 
bottle it. Then take the leaves out of the basket, pour in 
the same amount of oil on them again and press it out. 
This is called that which follows, for it does not allow a 
third steeping. Then take the same amount of new basil 
and steep it again as described in instructions about 
rosaceum [1-53]. Then pour in the oil from the first 
steeping, let the leaves lie and soak in there an equal time, 
and afterwards strain it out and bottle it. If you wish to 
steep it three or four times always put in new basil. It may 
also be made from unripe olives but the other way is best. 

It does the same things as sampsuchinum [above] but 
not as effectively. 

1-60. ABROTONINON 

suggested: A brotonum foemina [Fuchs], A bsinthium ponticum 
[Bauhin], A rtemisia pontica [Linnaeus], A brotanum mas 
[Linnaeus], A rtemisia abrotanum, A brotoninum 
— Southernwood — Oil of Southernwood 

A brotoninum is made as follows. Take eight pounds of 
the leaves of abrotanum [3-29] and eleven pounds 


56 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


five ounces of the oil aromatized with the ingredients 
that go into cyprinum [see 1-65], and having steeped them 
in oil a day and a night, strain it out. If you wish to make it 
last a long time throw away the first leaves, put in other 
leaves, steep them too, and strain it out. It is warming and 
good for closing up or hardness in the vulva, and 
expelling the menstrual flow and afterbirth. 

1-61. ANETHINON 

suggested: A nethum hortense [Bauhin], Anethum graveolens 
[Linnaeus], Peucedanum graveolens, Selinum athenum, 
Pastinaca athenum, A nethinum — Dill, Oil of Dill 

S teep eleven pounds and eight ounces of the flowers 
of anethum for one day in eight pounds nine ounces of 
oil, then squeeze it out by hand and store it. If you wish to 
make a second steeping add new flowers of anethum. It 
can soothe distress around the vulva and open it and is 
effective for hard lumps on the gums, warming and 
dissolving weariness, and is good for sores of the joints. 

1-62. SUSINON 


SUGGESTED: L ilium, L ilium album [Fuchs], 

Li Hum candidum [Linnaeus] — Madonna Lily 
[other usage] Crinum toxicarium, Crinum asiaticum 
— White Lily, Lily Asphodel, Poison Bulb 

see 3-116 
POISONOUS 

S usinum is also called I ilinum or li I iaceum and is made as 
follows. After you have mixed together nine pounds 
five ounces of oil, five pounds three ounces of calamus 
[1-17] and five ounces of myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] in 
fragrant wine, boil it, let the oil run through a strainer, 
pour it out again, and add three pounds six ounces of 
cardamom (bruised and steeped in rain water). Allow it 
to be sufficiently steeped together, then strain it out. Take 
three and a half pounds of this thickened oil and a 
thousand (counted) lilies, and having stripped off their 
leaves, put them in a broad but not deep jar. Pour in the 
oil, stir it around with your hands (that have been 


59 


OINTMENTS 


previously rubbed with honey) and let it stand for a day 
and a night. The next morning pour it into a cupped 
strainer and presently (when it is strained) separate the 
oil on top from the water that is strained out with it, 
because it will not permit the water with it, like rosaceum 
[1-53], but when heated together it grows hot again and is 
spoiled. Pour it out again into other jars smeared with 
honey, first sprinkling a little salt in there and taking 
away the filth carefully as it gathers together. Take the 
strained aromatic stuff out of the basket, and placing it 
into a broad jar pour in on it again the same amount of 
the aromatised oil as at first. Put in ten teaspoons of 
bruised cardamom, stir it well with your hands, and after 
waiting a little strain it out, removing the filth off from 
that which runs out. Pour on the oil again a third time, 
repeat [the procedure] throwing in the cardamom and 
the salt with it, and press it out (first smearing your hands 
with honey). That which was the first strained out will be 
the best, the second the next after that, and the third the 
least. Then take another thousand lilies and strip off their 
leaves, lay them in order and pour on them the oil that 
was first strained out. Work methodically, doing the 
same things over again as you did at first, mingling 
cardamom [as before and afterwards straining it out]. Do 
the same the second and the third time, placing into it the 
cardamom, afterwards straining it out and repeating the 
procedure. As often as you steep fresh lilies in there, (by 
so much) you shall have the ointment stronger. Finally 
when it seems to you that you have enough, mix with 
every preparation seventy-two teaspoons of the best 
myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116], ten teaspoons of crocus and 
seventy-five teaspoons of cinnamon. Some take the same 
amount of crocus and cinnamon (having pounded and 
sifted it), put it into a jar with water, and pour on it the 
ointment from the first pressing: afterwards (leaving it 
alone a little while) they put it into little dry jars (first 
smeared around with gum or myrrh and saffron and 
honey diluted with water). Do the very same things to 
the second and third pressings. Some make it with 
nothing else but oil balaninum [1-40, 4-160] or some other 
oil and lilies. The oil which is made in Phoenicia and in 
Egypt is thought to excel most, the best being that which 
smells [most] of lilies. 

It is warming and softening — opening closures and 
inflammation around the vulva — and in general it is the 


60 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


most effective of all for female ailments. It is also good for 
scaly scalp, varicose veins, dandruff, and feruidae [from 
fever] eruptions. It quickly alters vi bices [marks from 
blood under the skin during a fever] and makes them the 
same colour as the rest of the skin. Generally it is very 
purifying. Taken as a drink it expels bile through the 
bowels, and induces the passage of urine; but it hurts the 
stomach and causes nausea. 

1-63. NARCISSINON 


suggested: N arcissus odorus, N arcissus calathinus, 

N arcissus campernelli — Campernelle Jonquil 
N arcissus pseudo-narcissus, N arcissus sylvestris 
— Wild Narcissus, Daffodil, Lent Lily, Lent Rose 
N arcissus poeticus, N arcissinum — Poet's Narcissus, 
Pheasant's Eye — Oil of Narcissus 

O leum narcissi num is thickened as follows. Take thirty 
pounds five ounces of washed oil and six pounds of 
aspalathum [1-19] (pounded and steeped in water). Mix it 
with a third of the oil and boil it. Take out the aspalathum 
and put in five pounds eight ounces of calamus [1-17] and 
pounded sifted grains of myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] 
(steeped in old fragrant wine). Mix it and boil it and when 
it has boiled with these ingredients take it off. When it is 
cold strain out the oil, then take the oil and pour it out 
into a jar and add a large amount of narcissus flowers, 
stirring it up and down for two days. Then as we said in 
SUSinum [1-62], strain it out and repeatedly pour it out 
from one jar to another, as it is also quickly spoiled. It is 
good for damage in the vulva, softening hardness and 
closures around it. It causes headaches, however. 

1-64. KROCINON 

suggested: Croci flores et folia [Fuchs], Crocus sativus 
[Bauhin], Crocus sativus var officinalis [Linnaeus], Croci num 
— Saffron Crocus — Oil of Crocus 

POISONOUS 

I ntending to prepare croci num you must first of all 
thicken the oil as was explained in SUSinum [1-62] with 
the very same weight and amount. Take therefore three 


63 


OINTMENTS 


and a half pounds of the thickened oil of susinum [1-62], 
put in there eight teaspoons of crocus and stir it up and 
down often each day, doing this continuously for five 
days together. On the sixth day pour out the oil, separate 
it from the crocus, pour in again on the same crocus the 
same amount of new oil and stir it up and down for 
thirteen days. Then having poured it all back again, mix 
with it forty teaspoons of myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] 
(pounded and sifted), stir it around well in a mortar, and 
bottle it. Some use as much aromatised oil for crocinum as 
they do for cyprinum [1-65]. The best smells abundantly of 
crocus and this is fit for medicinal use, and the next best 
smells of myrrh. It is warming and sleep-inducing, thus it 
is often good for an unsound mind when [the head is] 
moistened with it (or if it is merely smelled) or if the 
nostrils are rubbed with it. It induces movement of pus, 
cleans boils, and is good for hardness in the uterus (and 
closure) and other ill afflictions there, with wax, crocus, 
marrow, and double the oil. It digests, softens, moistens 
and lessens. It is also good for glaucoma of the eyes 
rubbed on with water. This is the same as butyrinum, 
onychinum and styracinum — differing only in name but 
having the same preparation and effect. 

1-65. KUPRINON 

suggested: Lawsonia alba, Lawsonia inermis Cyprinum 
— Cyprus, Henna Shrub, Egyptian Privet — Oil of Cyprus 

T ake one part washed oil of unripe olives and a part 
and a half of rainwater. Pour out some of this into the 
oil and mix the other with the aromata [fragrant herbs] 
that are to be put in. Afterwards take five and a half 
pounds of aspa/athus [1-19], six and and half pounds of 
calamus, one pound of myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116], three 
pounds nine ounces of cardamom and nine pounds five 
ounces of oil. Having bruised and steeped the aspalathus 
throw it in the water, and boil it with the oil until it boils 
together. Then steep the myrrh in old fragrant wine, 
steep the bruised calamus together with the myrrh, and 
taking out the aspalathus, put in this mixture of calamus. 
When it has boiled together take down the kettle, strain 
out the oil and pour it on the bruised cardamom and that 
which was steeped in the rest of the water, and stir it 


64 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


around with a continuous splashing — not stopping until 
it is cold. Afterwards strain out the oil and put forty-six 
pounds eight ounces of Cyprus [1-65] flowers into 
twenty-eight pounds of oil, allow them to be steeped, 
and strain them through a wicker basket. If you would 
have more of it place in again the same amount of new 
flowers, strain it out in same way again, and if you will 
you may steep it a third and a fourth time for in this way 
it is made more effective. Choose that which is good and 
which strongly impresses [the nostrils] with its sweet 
smell. Some also mingle cinnamon with it. It has a 
warming, softening quality, opening the mouths [of the 
blood vessels], good for disorders of the vulva and nerves 
and for pleurisy and fractures, both alone as well as 
mixed with a stiff ointment. It is also put into softening 
medicines made to help those troubled with stiff 
convulsions of the neck, as well as those troubled with 
angina, and for inflammation of the groin. It is also put 
into medicines against weariness. 

1-66. IRINON 

SUGGESTED: Iris germanica [Fuchs, Brunfels, Linnaeus], 

Iris vulgaris Germanica sivesylvestris [Bauhin], Irinum 
— German Iris, Blue Flower de Luce, Flowering Ring 
— Iris Oil 

POISONOUS 

T ake six pounds eight ounces of spatha or data [1-150] 
(pounded as small as possible) and seventy three 
pounds five ounces of oil. Mix it with five pints of water, 
place it into a brass ]ar and boil it until it absorbs the smell 
of spatha ; afterwards strain it out into a basin smeared 
with honey. From this aromatised oil the first irinum is 
prepared, the iris being steeped in the thickened oil as 
described below. Or else do the following. Take five 
pounds two ounces of xylobalsamum [1-18] and seventy 
pounds five ounces of oil, and having pounded them as 
above, boil them together. Afterwards take out the 
xylobalsamum, put in nine pounds ten ounces of bruised 
calamus [1-17] [as well as an equal weight of] grains of 
myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] steeped in old fragrant wine. 
Afterwards take fourteen pounds of this thickened and 
aromatised oil, steep the same weight of bruised iris in 


67 


OINTMENTS 


there, leave it undisturbed for two days and two nights, 
and afterwards strain it out lustily and forcibly. If you 
would have it stronger add the same amount [of iris], 
steeping similarly the same amount a second and third 
time, then strain it out. The best by far smells of nothing 
else but only of iris, such as that made in Perga, 
Pamphylia and that made in Elis, Achaia. It is softening 
and warming, and it cleans crusted ulcers, decaying flesh 
and filth, and it is good for conditions around the vulva, 
and for inflammation and closures of it. It expels a birth 
and opens haemorrhoids. It is good for noises in the ears 
applied with vinegar, rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98] and bitter 
almonds. For dripping mucus that has endured long the 
nostrils are rubbed with it, and also for fetid nasal polyps. 
A drink of a wine cupful purges the bowels, is good for 
suffering of the stomach, encourages urine, and is good 
for those who have difficulty vomiting, their fingers 
being rubbed with it [to put down the throat] or given 
with other things that cause vomiting. It is good rubbed 
on for angina or gargled with honey and water, and also 
for roughness of the arteries. It is given as an antidote to 
those who have taken a drink of hemlock, fungi or 
coriander. 


1-67. GLEUCINON 

SUGGESTED: G leucinum — Syruped Pulp of Grapes in Oil, 

Oil of Must 

G , leucinum simplex is prepared from oil of unripe 
olives, schoinos [rushes], calamus [1-17], Celtic nard 
[1-7], spatha [1-150], aspalathus [1-19], melilot [3-48], costus 
[1-15] and must. The vinandea [must] is laid in the jar that 
contains the aromata [fragrant herbs] with the wine and 
oil. It is stirred up and down twice every day for thirty 
days and then strained out and stored. It is warming, 
softening and relaxing; good for chills, sinewy diseases 
and disorders of the vulva. It is more effective than acopon 
[medicines to remove fatigue] being softening. 


68 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-68. AMARAKINON 

suggested: A maracinum — Parthenium, 

Cotula foetida [Fuchs], Chamaemelum foetidum [Bauhin], 
Anthemis cotula [Linnaeus] — Mayweed [Mabberley] 
[other usage] Origanum amaracus — Amaracus 
Origanum dictamnus, D ictamnus creticus, A maracus dictamnus 
— Dittany of Crete 

T he best amaracinum is made in Cyzicum. It is made 
from the oils of unripe olives and balaninum [1-40, 
4-160]; thickened with xylobalsamum [1-18], schoenus [4-52] 
and calamus [sweet flag] but sweetened with amaracus 
and costus [1-15], amomum [1-14], nard [1-6, 1-7, 1-8, 1-10], 
carpobalsam [fruit of opalobalsamum, 1-18] and myrrh [1-77, 
1-73, 4-116]. Those who make it expensively include 
cinnamon. Honey and wine are used both for rubbing 
the jars and steeping the aromata [fragrant herbs] that 
have been pounded. It is warming, sleep-inducing, 
opening the blood vessels, softening, heating and 
diuretic — effective for decaying flesh, fistulas, and 
watery ruptures occuring after the help of surgery. It 
breaks cradle cap on all sides and efferata [growing 
outwards] ulcers, and it is good for difficult urination (the 
perineum or buttocks and anus rubbed with it), and it is 
also good rubbed on for inflammation of the same places, 
and for opening haemorrhoids. Applied to the uterus it 
induces passage of the menstrual flow, and dissolves 
hardness and oedema [water retention] in the vulva. It is 
good for hurt tendons and muscles, moistened and 
applied in thin pads of wool. There is also a kind of oil 
which naturally and of its own accord drops out of the 
rock, with a sweet smell and a certain heaviness. It is 
found in Arabia and Italy and is very effective for many 
uses. It is able to dry, open, and glue tendons together. It 
is good for scabs and ulcers, and it also lessens and 
subdues wind. 


71 


OINTMENTS 


1-69. MEGALEION 


suggested: M egalium — Parthenium, Cotula foetida [Fuchs], 
Chamaemelum foetidum [Bauhin], A nthemis cotula [Linnaeus] 
— Mayweed [Mabberley] 

T hat which is called megalium used to be made but is 
no longer, yet for the completeness of the history it 
will not be out of place to speak something of it. The 
mixture of this is the same as amaracinum [1-68] but there 
is resin added to it so that it differs only in that. It is gently 
softening. Resin is mixed with the oils neither for 
preservation nor delight's sake but only to colour and 
thicken them. Turpentine is also mixed with it and boiled 
until it stops smelling. The method of boiling it is 
explained in the section on resin. 

1-70. HEDYCHROON 

suggested: H edychroon — Parthenium, Cotula foetida [Fuchs], 
Chamaemelum foetidum [Bauhin ], A nthemis cotula [Linnaeus] 
— Mayweed [Mabberley] 

T hat which is called hedychroon and which is made in 
Co has the same strength and the same method of 
preparation as amaracinum [1-68] but it smells sweeter. 

1-71. METOPION 


suggested: Ferula galbaniflua, M etopium — Galbanum 

A n ointment is prepared in Egypt which they call 
met opium because they mix galbanum with it, for the 
wood out of which galbanum is made they call metopium. 
A mixture is made of bitter almonds, oil of unripe olives 
and cardamom, schoenus [4-52], calamus [1-17], honey, 
wine, myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116], seeds of balsam [1-18], 
galbanum and resin. The best smells strongly and is fat, 
resembling cardamom and myrrh rather than galbanum. 
It heats and burns considerably and it also opens the 
mouths of blood vessels. It draws and purges ulcers. It is 
effective applied with antiseptic plasters for strength, 
muscles that have been cut, and watery lungs. It is mixed 
with warm compresses and stiff ointments. It is good for 


72 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


chills and reversed curved bodies in convulsions. It 
encourages sweat, opens closed blood vessels of the 
uterus and loosens hardness around it, and in general it 
has a softening quality. 

1-72. MENDESION 


SUGGESTED: M mdesium — Resin Compound 

M endesium is made from balanine oil [1-40, 4-160], 
myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116], cassia and resin. Some, 
after they have put in everything by weight, additionally 
put in a little cinnamon, but this is unneccessary because 
the things that are not pounded together do not yield 
their strength. It has similar properties to metopium [1-71] 
yet to a lower degree. 

1-73. STACTE 


suggested: Commiphora abyssinica — Coarse Myrrha 
Commiphora myrrha — Myrrh Tree, Myrrha 
Stacte — Oil of new Myrrh 

see 1-77, 4-116 


S tacte is the fat of new myrrh bruised with a little water 
and pressed out with an instrument. It has a very 
sweet smell, is precious, and by itself makes an ointment 
called Stacte. The approved Stacte is not mixed with oil and 
has a great deal of strength in a little amount, with a 
warming quality similar to myrrh and hot oils. 

1-74. KINNAMOMIN ON 

suggested: Cinnamominum, Cinnamomum zeylanicum 
— Oil of Cinnamon 

C innamominum is made from oil of balanine [1-40, 
4-160] and thickened with xylobalsamum [1-18], 
calamus [1-17], schoenus [4-52], the sweetness of 
cinnamon, carpo balsamum [1-18], four times the quantity 
of myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] as cinnamon, and honey is 
mixed in to incorporate them. The best approved is not 
sharp, with a mild smell and with myrrh predominating. 


75 


OINTMENTS 


thick and sweet-smelling, and with a very bitter taste. 
This has its thickness not from resin but from myrrh. For 
resin neither gives it bitterness nor a sweet smell. It is 
sharp, warming and bitter. Therefore it opens the mouths 
of blood vessels by warming, and it dissolves, dissipates, 
and draws forth all fluids and windiness, but it offends 
the head. It is good for diseases around the vulva with 
twice as much oil and wax and bone marrow, for this way 
it reduces much of its sharpness and becomes softening. 
Otherwise it burns and hardens more violently than all 
other thickened ointments. It is effective with cardamom 
for fistulas, decaying flesh, watery lungs, carbuncles 
[infected boils] and gangrene; and rubbed on for chills 
which recur, tremors, and those bitten by virulent beasts. 
It is to be applied with bruised green figs to those touched 
by scorpions or phalangii [harvest spiders]. 

1-75. NARDINON MURON 


suggested: Phu germanicum, Valeriana vulgaris, 

Phu vulgare [Fuchs], Valeriana sylvestris major [Bauhin], 
Valeriana officinalis [Linnaeus], N ardinum 
— Valerian [Mabberley] — Spikenard Ointment 

N ardinum ointment is prepared various ways — 
either with the leaf of malabathrum [1-11] or without 
it. For the most part it is mixed with oil balanine [1-40, 
4-160] or unripe olive oil, and to thicken the oil juncus 
odoratus [4-52, 1-16] is added, and to give it a sweet smell 
costus [1-15], amomum [1-14], nardus [1-6, 1-7, 1-8, 1-10] 
myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] and balsamum [1-18] are added. 
The best is thin, not sharp, with the sweet smell in it of 
dried nardus or amomum. It reduces the intensity of 
symptoms and purifies fluids with a sharp, cleansing, 
warming strength. It is moist and not thick like a stalk or 
stem, unless it has resin in it. Some with less value is made 
from unripe olive oil, juncus odoratus, calamus [1-17], costus 
and nardus. 


76 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-76. MALABATHRINON 

suggested: T rapa bi corn is — Ling Nut 
T rapa bispinosa — Singhara Nut 
T rapa quadrispinosa — Water Chestnut species 

Limnantheum indicum, N ymphoides indica — Water Snowflake 
C alii tri che pal u stri s, C all i tri che vern a, C all i tri che platycarpa 
— Water Starwort 

see 1-11 


M alabathrinum or foliatum that is thickened like 
nardinum [1-75] has more myrrh, thus it is warming 
and equal to crocinum [1-64] or amaracinum [1-68]. 

1-77. IASMELAION 


suggested: Jasminum sambac, Nyctanthes arbor tristus 
[Bedevian] — Arabian Jasmine 
Jasme — Oil of Jasmine 

T hat which is called jasme is made among the Persians 
from the white flowers of jasmine — two ounces of 
which are placed into an Italian pint of sesame oil, then 
changed and softened again as described in the 
manufacture of liliaceum [1-62], The use of this is 
entertained among the Persians at their banquets for the 
sweet scent that it yields. It is good for the whole body 
after bathing, for those who want warmth and relaxation. 
It has a heavy sweet smell, so that many do not willingly 
use it. 



Bursera gummifolia 
after FAGUET — 1878 


77 


GUMS from TREES 


GUMS from TREES 

1-77. SMURNA 


SUGGESTED: Commiphora myrrha — Myrrh Tree, Myrrha 
Commiphora abyssinica — Coarse Myrrha 

see 1-73 


S myrna [myrrh] is the oozing of a tree (like the 
Egyptian [tree]) which grows in Arabia, an incision 
being made in the thorns, from which the gum drips 
down onto the mats spread underneath, but some 
congeals around the stock of the tree. Some of this is 
called pediasimos (as we should say, campestris) from 
which when pressed stacte [oil of new myrrh] is taken. 
Another called gabirea is more thick and grows in fruitful 
and fertile places. It also yields much stacte. Priority is 
given to that called troglodytica from the place that breeds 
it — a pale green, biting and transparent. Some is also 
gathered which is thinner, next in esteem to the 
primitive, soft like bdellium , with a poisonous smell as it 
were, growing in sunny places. There is another kind 
called cau cal is which is smelly, black and dried. The worst 
of all is that which is called ergasima which is rough, with 
little fat, and sharp — resembling gum both in sight and 
strength. That called aminea is also not allowed. Fragrant 
and fat pressings are made from the fat gum; pressings 
neither fat nor good-smelling from the dry gum, weaker 
because they did not take in oil in their manufacture or 
forming. It is counterfeited by gum steeped in the water 
in which myrrh was infused and mixed. Choose that 
which is new, brittle, light, of the same colour 
throughout, and which when broken is smooth like a nail 
and in small pieces — bitter, sharp, fragrant and 
warming. That which is ponderous, weighs heavy and is 
the colour of pitch is useless. 

It is warming, rheum-closing, sleep-inducing, 
retaining, drying and astringent. It soothes and opens the 
closed vulva, and it expels the menstrual flow and birth 
speedily applied with wormwood [3-26], a dilution of 
lupins [2-132, 2-13] or juice from rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98]. The 
amount of a bean is taken like a catapotium [pill], against a 
long-enduring cough, asthma, pains of the side and 


78 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


chest, looseness of the bowels and dysentery. It dissolves 
chills (in acute fevers, especially recurrent paroxysmic 
ones) the amount of a bean taken in a drink with pepper 
and water two hours before the fit. Put under the tongue 
and melted it helps both sharpness of the arteries and 
hoarseness of the voice. It kill s worms and is chewed for 
stinking breath. For sores on the armpits it is rubbed on 
with liquid alum [5-123]. Used as a mouthwash with wine 
and oil it strengthens teeth and gums. Rubbed on with 
the flesh of a snail it cures broken ears and exposed 
bones, as well as pus in the ears and their inflammation 
with meconium [4-65], castorium [2-26] and glaucium [2-212, 
3-100]. It is rubbed on varicose veins with cassia and 
honey. It cleans away impetigo [skin infection] with 
vinegar, and it stops hair falling out [alopecia] rubbed on 
with ladanum [1-128], wine and oil myrsinum [1-48]. 
Rubbed on the ear externally it alleviates long-enduring 
discharges. It f il l s up ulcers in the eyes, and it wears off 
white spots on the cornea and things which darken the 
pupils. It also smooths rough skin. A soot is also made of it 
(like soot of frankincense) effective for the same 
purposes, as we will show. 

1-78. BOIOTIKE SMURNA 


suggested: H ipposelinum,Smyrnium olusatrum, 
Petroselinum alexandrinum — Alexanders, Black Lovage, 
Horse Parsley, Boeotin Myrrh 

see 1-77, 1-73, 3-78, 4-116 


B oeotican myrrh comes out of the cut root of a certain 
plant growing in Boeotia. Choose that which 
resembles myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] in the sweet smell. It is 
softening, warming and dissolving. It is also effective 
mixed in inhalations of smoke or fumes. 

1-79. STURAX 

suggested: Styrax officinale— Styrax Tree 
Styrax benzoin, Benzoin officinale, Li thocarpus benzoin 
— Gum Benjamin Tree, Benzoe 

S tyrax is the oozing of a certain tree like a quince tree. 
The best is yellow, fat, full of resin, having white 


81 


GUMS from TREES 


under the clots, which remains a long time in its sweet 
sauce, and which when it is softened releases a certain 
honeyish kind of moisture. The gabalites, pissiadicus and 
the cilicius are like this. That which is black, brittle and 
like bran (or encrusted) is worthless. An oozing like the 
gum is also found (transparent like myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 
4-116]) but there is only a little that grows of this. They 
counterfeit it with powder from the same tree (made by 
the boring of worms) by mixing honey with it and the 
thick matter of iris and certain other things. Some also 
aromatise wax or tallow in the sharpest sun, work it 
together with styrax, and press it out into cold water 
through a colander with broad holes (making as it were 
little worms of it), and they sell it, calling it vermiculatum 
[now a name for gum of acacia thorns]. Those who are 
unskilful approve of it as authentic, not noticing the weak 
intensity of the smell, for that which is without deceit is 
very sharp. 

It is warming, softening and digestive. It cures coughs 
and dripping mucus, runny noses, hoarseness and loss of 
the voice. It is good for closures and hardness in the 
vulva, and taken as a drink and applied it dries out the 
menstrual flow. It gently softens the bowels if a little of it 
is swallowed down with resin terminthos [1-91]. It is also 
effective mixed with dispersing ointments or plasters and 
acopon [fatigue removers]. It is burned, roasted, scorched 
and made into a soot like thus [1-81] and this soot is good 
for the same things as thus. But the ointment styracinum 
[also refered to as oil of crocus] which is made from it in 
Syria warms and powerfully softens; but it causes pain, 
heaviness of the head and sleep. 

1-80. BDELLION 


suggested: Bdellium africanum, Balsamodendrum africanum, 

H eudelotia africanum — Bdellium Tree, Balsamodendron kua 

B dellium (which some call madelcum or bolchum ) is the 
oozing of a Sarandenian tree. The best-approved is 
bitter in taste, transparent, fat like bull's glue, fat in the 
inside of it and easily growing soft, without wood or 
other filth, with a very sweet smell when burnt, like 
juncus odoratus [4-52, 1-16]. There is another sort — filthy 
and black, in bigger pieces, rolled up into lumps — 


82 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


brought out of India. It is also brought from a town called 
Petra, and this is dry, resinous, black and blue 
underneath, and next in strength to the first. It is 
counterfeited by mixing gum with it, but this is not as 
bitter to the taste, and when burnt and smoked it does 
not smell as sweet. 

It is warming and softening, and diluted with the 
spittle of one fasting it dissolves hardness and swellings 
of the throat and watery ruptures. It opens the entrance 
to the vulva when applied and the smoke inhaled. It is an 
abortifacient and draws out moisture. Taken as a drink it 
breaks up stones [kidney, urinary] and it expels urine. It 
is effective given for coughs and poisonous creatures' 
bites. It is good for hernia, convulsions and pain of the 
side, and for the accumulated wind in those who have 
run. It is put into warm compresses which are good for 
hardness and the knots in the nerves. Bruised, it is 
worked together with wine or hot water is poured on it. 

1-81. LIB ANON THUS 

suggested: Boswellia carterii, Boswellia papyrifera, 
Boswdlia floribunda, Boswellia serrata 
— Gum from Frankincense, Olibanum Tree 

Ferula rubricaulis — also used in incense 


T hus (which is also called thurifera) grows in Arabia, 
the best of which is the masculum called stagonias, 
naturally round. This when not cut is white, and when 
broken fat within. Put on fire it burns straight. The Indian 
is both yellow-brown underneath and a pale yellow in 
colour. It is made round by art and industry. For cutting it 
into cubes and throwing them into jars of clay they roll 
them up and down so long in there until they take a 
round form. Such thus as this grows yellow in time and is 
called atomum or syagrium. Next to this is that from Arabia 
and that which grows in Amelum. It is also called 
copiscum [abundant] and it is smaller and more yellow. 
There is some called amomites which is otherwise white 
but when softened is yielding like mastic [1-51]. All thus is 
adulterated with resin of pine and gum, being artificially 
handled. Discerning this is easy. The gum when put into 
a fire does not flame out, and the resin evaporates into 
smoke, but the thus is kindled and by its scent proves 


85 


GUMS from TREES 


itself. It is able to warm and is an astringent to clean away 
things which darken the pupils, fill up the hollowness of 
ulcers and draw them to a scar, and to glue together 
bloody wounds; and it is able to suppress all excessive 
discharges of blood including that of the neural 
membrane. Pounded into small pieces and applied with 
linen dipped in milk it lessens malignant ulcers around 
the perineum and other parts. It takes away new warts 
and impetigo [skin infection] smeared on with vinegar 
and pitch. It cures ulcerous burns from fire and chilblains 
rubbed on with fat from a pig or goose. With saltpetre 
[potassium nitrate] it cures ulcers that penetrate the 
head. It is used with honey for hangnails and with pitch 
for bruises of the ears, and poured in with sweet wine for 
other sores of the ears. Rubbed on with fuller's earth 
[ammonium silicate] and rosaceum [1-53] it is good for 
women's breasts inflamed from the time of their giving 
birth. It is effective mixed with medicines made for the 
arteries and the bowels; and taken as a drink it helps 
those who spit blood. Taken as a drink by those who are 
healthy it brings madness, and taken as a drink in any 
great amount with wine, it kills. Thus is burnt in a clean 
ceramic jar and set on fire by a piece of it lighted by a 
candle until it is burnt. You must (after it is fully burnt) 
stop it with something until it is quenched, for so it will 
not be turned into ashes. Some also put a hollow brass jar 
around the pot with holes in the middle for receiving the 
soot, as we will show in the description of the soot of thus. 
Some place it into unfired jars, wrap it around with clay, 
and burn it in a furnace. It is also burnt in a new ceramic 
jar with hot burning coals until it no longer bubbles nor 
sends out any more fat or vapour, and that which is 
thoroughly burnt is easily broken. 

1-82. PHLOIOS LIBANOU 


suggested: Boswellia carterii, Boswellia papyri fera, 
Boswellia floribunda, Boswellia serrata — Bark of Frankincense, 
Olibanum Tree 

T he best bark of thuris [t/ll/S] is thick, fat, fragrant, new, 
smooth, and neither coarse nor thin. It is 
counterfeited by mixing it with the bark of strobilinum [fir 
cones, pine cones]. Fire will also betray these. For the 


86 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


others when put into the fire do not kindle, but smoke 
without any sweet smell and are extinguished. But the 
bark of thus kindles and incense is made of it. It has the 
same properties as frankincense but is more effective and 
astringent. As a result, it is better (taken in a drink) for 
those who spit blood or are troubled with an excessive 
discharge from stomach or uterus; and as an astringent it 
is alternately a substitute. It is also good for scars on the 
eye, intestinal worms and filth, and applied it is effective 
for scabby inflammation of the eyes. 

1-83. LIBANOU MANNA 


suggested: Boswellia carterii, Boswetlia papyrifera, 
Boswellia floribunda, Boswellia serrata 
— Exudation of Frankincense, Olibanum Tree 

Manna — an exudation 


T he approved manna of frankincense is white, clean 
and grainy. It has the same strength as frankincense 
but is somewhat grainy. Some adulterate it by mixing 
with it resin from the pine tree, sieved, and the flour 
used, or else bark of thus pounded. But fire tests all these 
for they do not burn the same way, neither with the same 
strength nor with the same clear airy smoke (as the other) 
but with a sooty and impure one, and the sweet smell has 
a certain kind of sour one mixed with it. 

1-84. LIBANOU AITHALIE 


suggested: Boswellia serrata, Thus — Soot of Frankincense, 
Spruce, Firs, Pines 

M ake soot of thuris as follows. Holding a grain of thus 
[frankincense] with a little pair of tongs to a lamp 
to set it alight, put it into a new hollow ceramic jar then 
cover it with a brass jar (hollow within, full of holes in the 
middle and carefully wiped very clean). Then put over 
on one side of it (or on both) little stones of four fingers in 
height to see whether the pieces burn or not, and that 
there may be a place where to put other grains under also 
before the first grain is quite out. Do this until you think 
that you have gathered enough soot. But always keep the 
outside of the brass cover moist with a sponge dipped in 


87 


GUMS from TREES 


cold water. For all the soot adheres faster to it when it is 
not too hot, which otherwise because of the lightness of it 
falls off and is mixed with the ashes of frankincense. 
Therefore, having scraped off the first soot do so again as 
often as you shall think suitable, and also take away the 
ashes separately from the thus that has been burnt. It has 
the ability to soothe inflammation of the eyes, repress 
discharges, clean ulcers, fill hollow sores, and repress 
diseases of the cornea. 

1-85. LIGNUOS SKEUASIA 

suggested: Soot of Myrrh — Commiphora myrrha 
Resin — Spruce, Firs, Pines; Benzoin — Sty rax 

I n the same way soot is made from myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 
4-116], rosin and styrax [1-79] and these are good for 
the same purposes [as the above]. You can produce soot 
in the same way from other resins. 

1-86. PITUS, PEUKE 

suggested: Pinus rigida, Peuce [Pliny] — Pitch Pine 
Pin, Pinus, Pinus pinea, Pinus sativa — Italian Stone Pine 

P itys is a well-known tree. There is another similar tree 
called peuce which differs in shape. The bark of both 
of them is astringent. Pounded into small pieces and a 
poultice then made of it, it is good with sediment [of 
wine] and manna [exudation of trees] for chafing 
dermatitis, superficial ulcers and for burns. Taken with 
myrica wax ointment it brings boils to a scar in those with 
tender skin; and pounded into small pieces with blacking 
from a shoemaker it represses serpentia [Tsnakebite]. It 
expels the birth and afterbirth out of the uterus taken as 
inhalations (smoke, fumes); and taken as a drink it stops 
discharges of the intestines and encourages urine. Their 
leaves pounded into small pieces and made into a 
poultice lessen inflammation and keep wounds from 
being inflamed. Pounded into small pieces and boiled in 
vinegar they lessen toothache when [the teeth are] 
washed with the warm liquid. One teaspoon of the leaves 
(taken as a drink with water, or honey and water) is good 
for liver disorders. The bark from the cones and the split 


88 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


leaves (taken in a drink) are good for the same purposes. 
A toeda [a piece of the heart of the tree] cut in small pieces 
in a decoction boiled with vinegar and held in to a tooth 
that suffers, lessens toothache. A paste is made from 
them suitable for preparations for enemas and 
suppositories. When they are burning a soot is taken, 
good to make writing ink, and good also to be put in 
medicines for the eyelids. It is also good for erosions at 
the corners of the eyes, weeping eyes and bald eyelids. 

1-87. PITUIDES 


suggested: Pinus rigida, Peuce— Pitch Pine 
Pinus mughus, Pinus nigra, Pinus maritima — Pineseeds, Pine 

P i tyi des are the fruit of the pines [and of the pinus pi cea] 
found in the cones. They are astringent and 
somewhat warming. They help coughs and disorders of 
the chest taken either by themselves or with honey. 

1-88. STROBILOI 

suggested: Pinus mughus, Pinus nigra, 

Pinus maritima, Pinus pinea, Pinus rigida — Pine Cones 

F ir cones cleaned and eaten or taken in a drink with 
passu m [raisin wine] and cucumber seed are diuretic, 
and dull irritations of the bladder and kidneys. They also 
lessen rosiones [gnawing corrosion] of the stomach. Taken 
with juice of purslane [4-169] they strengthen infirmity of 
the body, and dull the infection of fluids. Fir cones 
gathered whole from the trees, pounded while they are 
fresh, and boiled in passu m [raisin wine] are good for old 
coughs and consumptive wasting if three cups of this 
liquid is taken every day. 


GUMS from TREES 



Schinus molle 


after FAGUET — 1878 



Bursera obtusi folia 
after FAGUET — 1878 


1-89. SCHINOS 


suggested: Schinus molle, Pistacia lentiscus, 

Bursera gummifera, Sideroxylon mastichodendron, Schinus 
— Mastic Tree, Pepper Tree, Herb Mastic 

Schinus molle is now an American genus; Bursera gummifera is now a West Indian tree 

[Loudon]. 


S chinus is a well-known tree that is wholly astringent 
in its fruit and leaves. The bark of the branches and 
root are of equal strength. A juice is made of the bark, root 
and leaves sufficiently boiled in water. Then (after they 
are boiled) the plant material is removed and the water 
boiled again to the consistency of honey. Being of an 
astringent nature it is good taken as a drink for throwing- 
up blood, discharges from the stomach, and dysentery, as 
well as for bloody eruptions from the uterus, and for 
prolapse of the uterus and perineum. Generally it may be 
used instead of acacia and hypocistis [1-127], The juice 
strained out of the leaves performs the same functions, 
and a decoction of the leaves applied with hot cloths fills 
hollow cavities, consolidates broken bones, and stops 
discharge of fluids from the uterus. It is a remedy against 
gangrenous sores and is diuretic, and it settles unstable 
teeth that are washed with it. The green sprigs are rubbed 
on the teeth (instead of reed toothpicks) to clean them. 
An astringent oil is made from the fruit which is suitable 
for things which need an astringent. 

1-90. SCHININE RETINE 

suggested: Schinus molle, Pistacia lentiscus, 

Bursera gummifera, Sideroxylon mastichodendron, Schinus 
— Mastic Tree, Pepper Tree, Herb Mastic 

Schinus molle is now an American genus; Bursera gummifera is now a West Indian tree 

[Loudon]. 


A resin called lentiscin a comes from / enti scum, and also 
some called mastic. Taken as a drink it is good for 
vomiting of blood and for an old cough. It is good for the 
stomach, causing belching. It is mixed with tooth 
powders and ointments for the face making it clearer. It 
prevents the eyelashes from falling out and thickens 
them, and when chewed it causes sweet breath and 


90 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


strengthens the gums. The best and most abundant 
grows in Chios and the choicest is that which is clear and 
similar in whiteness to Tyrrhenian wax — full, dry, 
crumbly and sweet-smelling — but that which is green is 
bad. It is adulterated by frankincense and resin of pine 
cones being mixed with it. 

1-91. TERMINTHOS 


suggested: T erminthinus, T ermenteyne [old English], 
Pistacia terebinthus — Turpentine Tree 

see also 1-50, 5-39 


T erminthos is a well-known tree the leaves, fruit and 
bark of which are astringent and good for the same 
things as lentisk [1-90], used and taken in the same way. 
The fruit is edible but hurts the stomach. It is diuretic and 
warming, excellent to act on venereal diseases. Taken in a 
drink with wine it is good against harvest spider bites. 
The resin is brought out of Arabia Petraea. It also grows in 
Judaea, Syria, Cyprus and Africa, and in the islands called 
Cyclades. The preferred resin is most clear, white, a 
glassy colour and inclining to an azure [blue], fragrant, 
and smells like terminthos. The resin from terminthos 
surpasses all other resins and after it is the lentiscina [1-90] 
then pituine [1-86] and elaterium [4-155]. After these are 
reckoned both peucedanum [3-92] and pine cones. Now all 
resin has a soothing, warming, dispersing, cleansing 
quality; good for coughs and consumption [wasting 
disease] taken in syrups (either by itself or with honey), 
purging what should be purged out of the chest. It is also 
diuretic, helps digestion, softens the intestines, and is 
good for retaining hair on the eyebrows. It is good for 
leprosy with rust from brass, blacking from a shoemaker 
and saltpetre [potassium nitrate]. For ears which run 
with filthy matter it is applied with oil and honey, and it 
is effective for itching genitals. It is mixed with plasters, 
warm compresses, and remedies to remove fatigue. 
Rubbed on or applied by itself it helps pains of the side. 


93 


GUMS from TREES 


1-92. RETINA ALLAS 

suggested: Pinus mughus, Pinus nigra, Pinus maritima, 
Pinus pinea, Pinus rigida, Peuce — Pitch Pine, Pine 
Picea alba, Pinus sylvestris, A bies pectinata, Picea excelsa 
— White Spruce, Silver Fir, Fir 
A bies iaryx, L arix europa — Larch 
C upressus sempervirens, C upressus funebris — Cypress 

M oist resin also comes out of the pine tree and the 
pitch tree brought from Gallia and Hetruria. 
Previously it was sometimes brought from Colophon 
from which it had its surname of colophonia, as well as 
from Galatia (which is near the Alps) which the 
inhabitants of that place in their proper tongue call the 
larch tree. This is particularly good (taken in a linctus 
[syrup] or alone) for lasting coughs. They are also 
different in colour for one is white, another of oil colour, 
and another looks like honey, such as that of the larch 
tree. Moist resin also comes out of the cypress tree, good 
for the same purposes. Of that which is dry there is some 
called strobilina [from pine cones], elaterium [4-155], 
peu cine [1-86] and pituine [1-86]. Choose that which smells 
sweetest and is clear — neither too dry nor too moist, but 
like wax and brittle. Of these that of the pitch tree and fir 
tree excel, for they have a sweet smell and resemble 
frankincense in their odour. The best are brought out of 
Pityusa (an island which lies near Spain), but that from 
the pitch tree, strobilus [pine cones] and the cypress are of 
a meaner sort and are not the same in strength as the 
others, yet they are made use of for the same purposes. 
Lentiscina [1-90] matches terminthos [1-91] in strength. 

1-93. LIGNUOS RETINES 


SUGGESTED: Soot from Resin 

A ll liquid resin is burnt in a jar containing four times 
as much resin as the amount of the liquid that is to be 
poured into it. You must (when you have put four and a 
half litres of resin and two gallons of rain water into a jar) 
boil it over a coal fire gently, always stirring it until it is 
without any smell and brittle and dry, and as it were 
yields to the fingers. At last having cooled it, it must be 


94 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


put up in a bottle made without pitch, and so it becomes 
extraordinarily white, but first you must strain all the 
resin, melting it so that the filth may be separated from it. 
It is also burnt without water on coals — gently at first but 
more violently when it begins to thicken — then place 
many coals under and boil it without intermission for 
three days and three nights until the remains have the 
predicted properties. Then (as it is said) bottle and store 
it. It is enough to boil the dry resin for one whole day and 
then store it. When thus burnt these are good to give a 
sweet smell to warm compresses and remedies to remove 
fatigue, as well as to colour ointments. Soot is also taken 
from resins as well as thus [1-81] which is good mixed 
with medicines to make the eyelids pleasing, for gnawed- 
around eye corners, for the membranes of the eyelids, 
and for weeping eyes. Ink with which to write is also 
made from it. 


1-94. PISSA UGRA 

suggested: Pinus mughus, Pinus nigra, Pinus maritima, 
Pinuspinea, Pinus rigida, Peuce — Pitch Pine 

P ix liquida (also called con uni) is gathered from the 
fattest wood of the pitch and pine trees. They reckon 
the best is glittering, smooth and clean. A wine cupful 
(taken with honey in a tinctus [syrup]) is good in 
antidotes for poisoning, pulmonary consumption 
[wasting disease], purulent abnormal growths, coughs, 
asthma, and fluids that are difficult to cough up from the 
chest. It is good rubbed on with rosaceum [1-53] for 
inflammation of the tonsils and uvula, as well as for 
angina [spasmodic pains] and purulent [pus-filled] ears. 
For snakebite it is applied with salt (ground fine). Mixed 
with the same amount of wax it draws off pitted nails, 
and dissolves tubercles [growths] on the vulva and 
hardness on the perineum. Boiled with barley meal and 
the urine of a boy it breaks up tumours [possibly goitre]. 
Rubbed on with sulphur, pine bark or bran it stops 
snakebite ulcers. Mixed with manna of thus [1-81] and 
waxy ointments and rubbed on it heals twisting ulcers, 
and is good for split feet and a split perineum, and with 
honey it f i ll s up ulcers and cleans them. With raisins of 


97 


GUMS from TREES 


the sun and honey it covers carbuncles [infected boils] 
[malignant skin tumours] and rotten ulcers with scars. It 
is also effective mixed with antiseptic plasters. 

1-95. PISSELAION 


suggested: Pinus mughus, Pinus nigra, Pinus maritima, 
Pinus pinea, Pinus rigida, Peuce — Pitch Pine 

P icinum is made from the watery matter of pitch which 
swims on top (like whey on mil k that has been 
separated). This is taken away while boiling the pitch by 
laying clean wool over it which is made moist by the 
steam ascending up. It is squeezed out into a jar and this 
is done for as long as the pitch is boiling. It is available for 
the same purposes as liquid pitch. Applied as a poultice 
with barley meal it restores hair fallen out from alopecia 
[baldness]. Liquid pitch also cures the same, and rubbed 
on them it cures boils and scabs on cattle. 

1-96. LIGNUOS UGRAS PISSES 

suggested: Pinus mughus, Pinus nigra, Pinus maritima, 
Pinus pinea, Pinus rigida, Peuce — Pitch Pine 

S oot is made from moist pitch. Light a new lamp, put a 
portion of pitch into it and cover the lamp with a new 
ceramic jar made like a dibinus (above round and narrow 
and with a mouth below like ovens have) and let the 
lamp burn. When the first liquid pitch is used up put in 
more until you have made enough soot, and then use it. It 
is sharp and astringent and is used in medicines to make 
the eyelids pleasing, for rubbing, and when hair must be 
restored to eyelids that are filled with excessive watery 
fluids. It is good for weak, weeping, ulcerated eyes. 

1-97. PISSA XERA 


suggested: Pinus mughus, Pinus nigra, Pinus maritima, 
Pinus pinea, Pinus rigida, Peuce — Pitch Pine 

D ry pitch is made from decocted liquid pitch. It is also 
called palimpissa (that is, pitch boiled again). Some 
of this (called boscas ) is sticky like birdlime, and another 


98 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


sort is dry. The good dry pitch is pure, fat, smells good, 
and is golden underneath and resinous — such as the 
Lycian and Brutian which share the two natures of pitch 
and resin. It is warming and softening, removing pus, 
dispersing tubercula [nodules] and pannus [opaque 
thickening of cornea with veins], and filling up ulcers. It 
is effective mixed with wound medicines. 

1-98. ZOPISSA 

SUGGESTED: Resin scraped off ships — Zopissa 

S ome call the resin (which together with wax is 
scraped off ships) zopissa, and others call it apochyma 
as it is soluble because it was steeped in sea water. Some 
have called the resin of the pine tree by the same name. 

1-99. ASPHALTOS 


SUGGESTED: Bitumen — Asphalt — Mineral Pitch [1] 

T udean bitumen is better than others. The best shines 
I and is purple and heavy with a strong scent, but the 
black foul bitumen is worthless for it is adulterated with 
added pitch. It is found in Phoenicia, Sidon, Babylon and 
Zacynthus. It is also found (moist) swimming on wells in 
the country of the Agrigentines (Sicily) which they use 
for lamps instead of oil, and which they falsely call 
Sicilian oil, for it is a kind of moist bitumen. 

1-100. PISSASPHALTOS 

SUGGESTED: P issasphaltos — Bitumen — Asphalt 
— Mineral Pitch [2] 

T here is some called pissasphaltos found in Apollonia 
near Epidamnus, which is carried down from the 
Ceraunian mountains by the violence of the river and 
cast on the shore, growing into knobs which smell of 
pitch mixed with bitumen. 


99 


GUMS from TREES 


1-101. NAPHTHA 

SUGGESTED: N aptha — Bitumen — Asphalt — Mineral Pitch 

[3] 

T here is also some called naptha, which is strained 
Babylonian asphaltus, white in colour. Some is also 
found which is black. It attracts fire because it draws it to 
itself from a distance. It is good for bathing eyes and for 
white spots on the cornea. 

Properties of Asphaltos 

All bitumen is able to repress inflammation, close 
open cuts and sores, and disperse and soften, and is 
effective for congested vulvae and prolapse when 
applied, smelled, or the smoke inhaled. Furthermore, it 
reveals those troubled with epilepsy if the smoke is 
inhaled like [burning] gagate [jet] stone. Taken as a drink 
with wine and castoreum [2-26] it draws out the menstrual 
flow. It helps obstinate coughs, and those troubled with 
asthma and difficult breathing, also snakebites, hip pains 
and pains of the side. It is given to those troubled with 
colic as a catapotium [pill], and taken as a drink with 
vinegar it dissolves clots of blood. It is given melted with 
barley water as a suppository to those troubled with 
dysentery. It cures dripping mucus if inhaled. Wrapped 
around teeth it soothes toothache. Dry bitumen warmed 
with a continuous splashing (and so applied) retains hair. 
A plaster of it is applied mixed with barley meal, wax and 
saltpetre [potassium nitrate] to help those troubled with 
podagra [gout], arthritis and lethargy. Pissasphaltos can do 
as much as pix [organic pitch] and bitumen mixed 
together. 


1-102. KUPARISSOS 


suggested: Cupressus sempervirens — Cypress 
Cupressus funebris — Mourning Cypress, Weeping Cypress, 
Funereal Cypress 

T he leaves of cypress bind and cool. Taken as a drink 
with passu m [raisin wine] and a little myrrh [1-77, 
1-73, 4-116] they help frequent painful urination. Pills of it 
(bruised and taken as a drink with wine) are good for 


100 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


bloody vomit, dysentery, excessive discharges from the 
bowels, asthma and coughs. A decoction of it does the 
same. Pounded with figs it soothes hardness, and cures 
polyps [protruding growths from mucus membrane] in 
the nostrils. Boiled with vinegar and pounded into small 
pieces with lupins [2-132] it draws off rotten nails. A 
poultice of it applied stops rupture of the intestines 
[hernia] and the leaves do the same. Pills of it (together 
with the filaments) placed smoking like a perfume 
[incense] are an insect repellant to drive away mosquitos. 
The leaves pounded into small pieces and applied as a 
poultice heal wounds. It also staunches blood. Pounded 
into small pieces with vinegar it dyes hair. It is applied as 
a poultice either by itself or with polenta for erysipela 
[streptococcal skin infection], herpes [viral skin infection], 
carbuncles [infected boils] [malignant skin tumours] and 
inflammation of the eyes. Mixed with a stiff ointment and 
applied it strengthens the stomach. 


1-103. ARKEOTHOS MEGALE, 
ARKEOTHOS MIKRA 

suggested: luniperos minor [Fuchs, Brunfels] 
Juniperos vulgaris fructiosa [Bauhin] Juniperus excelsa 
— Greek Juniper 

Arceuthinus [Latin \, Juniperus communis — Juniper 

POISONOUS — WOOD 

S ome juniper is bigger, some smaller. Either of the 
junipers [the bigger and the smaller] are sharp, 
diuretic and warming, and when burned the fumes drive 
away snakes. One type of the fruit (called the juniper 
berry) is the size of a hazelnut, the other equal to a bean 
— both round and fragrant, sweet, and a little bitter to 
chew. It is mildly warming and astringent, good for the 
stomach, good taken in drink for infirmities of the chest, 
coughs, gaseousness, griping, and the poisons of 
venomous creatures. It is also diuretic; as a result it is 
good for convulsions and hernia, and those who have 
congested or blocked wombs. 

It has sharp leaves, as a result applied as a plaster and 
taken as a drink (or the juice taken with wine) they are 
good for those bitten by vipers. The bark (burned and 
rubbed on with water) removes leprosy, but the scraping 




Juniperus communis 
after FAGUET — 1880 


101 


GUMS from TREES 


or dust of the wood (swallowed down) kills. There is a 
great juniper too, which some call cypressus sylvestris, 
some mnesitheus, some acatera, and the Romans juniperus, 
and it is known to most like cypress growing for the most 
part in rough places and near the sea. It has the same 
properties as the former. The lesser juniper some call 
archeuthis, some, mnesitheus , others, acatalis, the Africans 
zuorinsipet, the Egyptians iibium, the Romans juniperus, 
and the Gauls jupicellusum. 

1-104. BRATHUS 

suggested: Sabina [Fuchs], Sabina folio tamarasci Dioscoridis 
[Bauhin], Brathys , Brathus [Latin ],Juniperus sabina [Linnaeus], 
H erba sabina — Savin, Sabin 

T here are two kinds of savin. One has leaves like 
cypress, but is more prickly with a strong smell, and 
sharp with a hot nature. The tree is short and extends 
itself mostly in breadth. Some use the leaves for perfume. 
The other kind has leaves like myrica [1-116]. Applied as a 
poultice the leaves of either of them close stomas 
[openings] and alleviate inflammation. Similarly, applied 
as a plaster with honey, they take away all blackness and 
foulness, and they break up carbuncles [infected boils]. 
Taken as a drink with wine (as well as applied or by 
inhalation) they draw out blood through the urine, and 
drive out the birth. They are mixed with hot ointments 
and in particular with gleucinum [1-67]. Some call it 
barathrum, some baryton, and the Romans call it herba 
sabina. 

1-105. KEDROS, KEDROS MIKRA 

suggested: Cedrus libani, Cedrus libanotica, Pinus cedrus, 

A bies cedrus, L arix cedrus — Cedar of Lebanon 

C edar deodara, L arix deodara, Pina deodara — Deodar, 
Himalayan Cedar, Indian Cedar 

POISONOUS 

T he cedar is a great tree from which cedria [oil of cedar] 
is gathered. It has fruit like the cypress but much 
bigger. There is another tree called cedar which is less 


102 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


prickly than juniper, bearing round fruit as big as myrtle 
berries. The best cedrid is thick and very clear with a 
strong scent; poured out it falls by drops and is not 
diffused. It is able to decay living bodies and is a 
preservative of dead ones; as a result some have called it 
the life of the dead. It corrupts cloths and skin because it 
heats and dries extraordinarily. It is also good for eye 
medicines, clearing the sight when rubbed on. It takes 
away white spots and scars on the cornea. Dropped in 
with vinegar it kills worms in the ears; infused with a 
decoction of hyssop [3-30] it quietens their noise and 
hissing. Dropped into the cavities of teeth it breaks the 
tooth but stops the pain. It does the same used as a 
mouthwash with vinegar. Rubbed around the genitals 
before sexual union it causes sterility. Those who are 
troubled with angina are rubbed with it, and it helps 
inflammation of pus-filled tonsils. Rubbed on it kills lice 
and nits. A plaster of it applied with salt helps the bite of 
the horned viper. It helps for poison of the sea hare [2-20] 
taken in a drink with passu m [raisin wine], and it helps 
elephantiasis [skin disease]. As much as a wine cupful of 
I i rictus [syrup] of it sipped (or the ointment applied) also 
purges ulcers of the lungs and cures them. Taken as a 
suppository it also kills ascaridae [threadworms] and 
other worms, and it extracts the birth [abortifacient]. An 
oil is made of the moisture which is separated from the 
cedria [oil of cedar] by a fleece laid over it during boiling 
(as we have said in the chapter on pitch) good for the 
same purposes as cedria. Particularly the oil, strongly 
rubbed in, cures scabs on beasts, dogs and oxen; and 
when applied it kills ricinos [lice], and heals ulcers on 
those which came from shearing. The soot of it is 
gathered like that of pitch, and it has the same strength. 
The fruit of cedar is called cedrides. It is warming and bad 
for the stomach but helps coughs, convulsions, hernia 
and slow painful urination. Taken as a drink with pepper 
(pounded into small pieces), it dries out the menstrual 
flow, and it is taken in wine against the poison of sea hare 
[2-20]. Used with deer fat or bone marrow it repels snakes 
if the body is rubbed with it. It is also mixed in antidotes. 


105 



GUMS from TREES 


1-106. DAPHNE 

suggested: Laurus-Alexandrina [Fuchs], Daphne-Alexandrina 
[Brunfels], Ruscus hypoglossum [Linnaeus], 

R uscus hippoglossum, U vularia, Baslingua — Laurel of Caesar 
[Mabberley], Horse Tongue, Double Tongue 
Laurus nobilis — Sweet Bay, Laurel, Roman Laurel 

S ome daphne [laurus] is found with a smaller leaf, some 
a broader. Both are warming and softening, as a result 
a decoction of them is good as a hip bath for disorders of 
the vulva and bladder. The green leaves are somewhat 
astringent. Pounded into small pieces and applied they 
are good for wasp and bee stings. Applied with barley 
flour and bread they are able to lessen any inflammation. 
Taken as a drink they make the stomach tender and 
provoke vomit, but the bay berries heat more than the 
leaves. They are good therefore taken in a linctus [syrup] 
(after they are pounded into small pieces) with honey or 
passu m [raisin wine] for consumption [wasting disease], 
asthma and dripping mucus around the chest. They are 
also taken as a drink with wine against scorpion stings, 
and they remove vitiligines [form of leprosy]. The juice of 
the berries helps earache and hardness of hearing 
dropped into the ears with old wine and rosaceum [1-53]. 
It is mixed with recipes for medicines to remove fatigue, 
with hot ointments, and with those which disperse. The 
bark of the root breaks stones [kidney, urinary], is an 
abortifacient, and is good for liver disorders — half a 
teaspoon taken as a drink with fragrant wine. It is also 
called danaben, Stephanos (as we should say a crown), 
daphnos, mythracice, mithrios, or hypoglossion. 

1-107. PLATANOS 

suggested: Platanus orientalis — Oriental Plane 

T he tender leaves of platanus (boiled in wine and 
applied as a poultice) stop discharges of the eyes, and 
alleviate oedema and inflammation. The bark (boiled in 
vinegar) is a lotion for toothache. The green filaments 
(taken as a drink with wine) help those bitten by snakes. 
Used in animal fat they cure burns. The down of the 
leaves and filaments hurts the hearing and sight. 


106 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-108. MELIA 

suggested: M elia azadirachta, M dia indica, Azadirachta indica 
— Persian Lilac, Pride of India, Indian Lilac 

? POISONOUS 

M dia is a well-known tree, the leaves of which (and 
their juice) taken as a drink with wine (and applied 
as a poultice) help those bitten by vipers. The bark 
burned and rubbed on with water removes leprosy; but 
the thin membranous scales of the wood (taken in a 
drink) are reported to be deadly. 

1-109. LEUKE 


suggested: Leucadendron argenteum, M yrtus leucadendron 
— Silver Tree 

M dal euca leucadendron, M elaleuca cajputi — Punk Tree, 
Cajeput Oil Tree 

O ne ounce of the bark of the leuke tree (taken as a 
drink) helps sciatica [pains in hips; sciatic nerves] 
and slow painful urination. Taken as a drink with a 
mule's kidney it is reported to take away conception 
[abortifacient]; and the leaves of it taken in a drink with 
wine (after the menstrual flow) are said to do the same. 
The lukewarm juice of the leaves is good dropped in the 
ears for earache. The filaments which put out at the first 
sprouting of the leaves, bruised small and rubbed on with 
honey, cure moisture of the eyes. Some say that the bark 
of the white and the black leuke, cut into pieces of a small 
size and scattered (or as it were sown) in beds that are 
dunged, brings forth edible mushrooms at any time of 
the year. 


109 


GUMS from TREES 


1-110. MAKER 


suggested: M yristica moschata — Nutmeg Tree, Mace 

bark is a yellow-saffron colour 


M acer is a bark brought out of Barbary, a pale yellow, 
thick and according to the taste very astringent. It 
is taken as a drink for spitting-up blood, dysentery, and 
excessive discharges of the bowels. 

1-111. PTELEA 

UNKNOWN 

[modern usage] Ptelea trifoliata — Hop Tree, Shrubby Trefoil, 
Wafer Ash [exotic] 

T he leaves, branches and bark of ptelea are all 
astringent. The leaves, pounded into small pieces 
with vinegar and so applied, are good for leprosy and 
heal wounds; but especially the bark, if it is wrapped 
around like a bandage, for it is flexible like a girdle. An 
owner [?uncia- ounce] of the thicker bark (taken in a drink 
with wine or cold water) expels phlegm. A decoction of 
the leaves or bark of the roots, applied with hot cloths, 
consolidates by drawing a cal I urn [hard skin] over the 
fracture of a bone sooner. The moisture which is found in 
the bladders [undeveloped fruit] at their first sprouting 
clears the face when rubbed on it. The same moisture, 
dried, is formed into little creatures like gnats. The newly- 
emerged leaves are used for sauce like vegetables. 

1-112. SAPROTES XYLON 


SUGGESTED: Dry Rot 

T he rotten stuff like meal which is gathered out of old 
wood and stocks of trees cleans ulcers and brings 
them to scar when it is laid on them. It also stops serpent! a 
[?snakebite] kneaded together with the same amount of 
anise [3-65] and wine, as well as pounded into small 
pieces, put into linen and applied. 


no 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-113. AIGEIROS 


suggested: A egiceras majus — River Mangrove 
also: A stragalus aegiceras 

see 4-62 


T he leaves of aigeiros applied with vinegar help gouty 
pains, and its resin is mixed with softening 
medicines. The seed (taken as a drink with vinegar) is 
good for epilepsy. It is also reported that the oozing 
which trickles down from them near the river Padus 
grows hard and becomes amber, called chrysophorum by 
some. This yields a sweet smell when rubbed and looks 
like gold. Ground finely and taken as a drink it stops 
excessive discharges of the stomach and bowels. 

1-114. KALAMOS NASTOS, SURIGGIOS, 
DONAX, PHRAGMITES 

suggested: D endrocalamus strictus — Male Bamboo 
D on ax arundinaceus, A rundo donax — Giant Reed, Bamboo, 
Bamboo Reed, Cane 

Bambusa arundinacea — Common Bamboo 
Phragmites communis, A rundo phragmites, A rundo vulgaris 
— Common Reed, Dutch Reed 
Calamus rotang — Rattan Cane, Chair-bottom Cane 
Syringia vulgaris — Common Lilac, Pipe Tree 

O ne kind of calamus from which arrows are made is 
called nastos, the other is the female from which 
bindings are made for the tibia [pipe or flute]. Another is 
called syringias — with much flesh [or pith], very knotty, 
fit for writing books [paper]. Another is thick and hollow, 
growing around rivers, called donax and cypria by some. 
Another is called phragmites — thin, inclined to 
whiteness, known to all — whose root (bruised, 
crumbled and applied either by itself or with bulbus 
[2-200]) draws out splinters and thorns. It soothes limbs 
that are out of joint, and pains of the loins [digestive or 
procreative, lower torso] with vinegar. The green leaves 
(pounded and applied) heal erysipeia [streptococcal skin 
infection] and other inflammations. The bark (burned 
and applied with vinegar) cures alopecia [baldness]. The 


113 


GUMS from TREES 


paniculae flos [flowers] of the calami [reeds] falling into the 
ears cause deafness. The harundo [reed] called cypria has a 
similar effectiveness. 


1-115. PAPUROS 


suggested: Cyperus papyrus, Papyrus antiquorum — Papyrus, 
Nile Papyrus, Paper Reed 

P apyrus from which paper is made is known to 
everyone. It has particular use in medicine for 
opening the mouth of fistulas [tubular ulcers]. It is 
prepared (steeped in some liquid) and a linen thread tied 
around it until it is dry. Straightened and put in the fistula 
it is filled with moisture, and upon swelling it opens the 
fistula. The root is somewhat nourishing. As a result the 
Egyptians chew it, suck out the juice, and spit out that 
which they have chewed. They also use it instead of 
wood. Papyrus, burnt until it turns it into ashes, restrains 
erosive ulcers in the mouth and other places, but burnt 
paper does this better. 



M yrica gale 

after FAGUET — 1880 


1-116. MURIKE, MURRIS 


suggested: Tamarix , Tamarix sylvestris, 

Tamarix sylvestris foemina [Fuchs], 

Tamarix fructiosa folio crassiovesiveGermanica [Bauhin] 
Tamarix articulata, Tamarix germanica [Linnaeus], 
Tamarix myrica, Tamarix gallica, M yricaria germanica 
— Tamarisk 

[other usage] Sweet Gale — M yrica gale 

M urra, murrha, myrrha - a substance from which precious vases and other vessels are 

made. 


M yrica or myrris is a well-known tree, growing in 
marshy grounds and standing waters, with a fruit 
as a flower, of a mossy consistency. Some of it is planted 
in gardens in Egypt — in other things like the wild, but it 
bears fruit like a gall [excrescence on oak trees], unequally 
astringent to the taste, and used instead of galls in 
medicines for the mouth, eyes and spitting of blood. It is 
given in drink to women troubled with colic, those who 
have a flowing-forth from the vulva or sickness of the 


114 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


head, and for those bitten by phalangii [harvest spiders]. 
Applied as a poultice it stops oedema. The bark does the 
same things, as well as the fruit. A decoction of the leaves 
(taken as a drink with wine) melts the spleen, and 
gargled in the mouth it helps toothache. For hip baths it is 
good for women troubled with a discharge of fluids from 
the vulva, and a heated rub of it is good for those with lice 
and nits. Ash from the wood (applied) stops flows from 
the uterus. There are some who make cups from the 
wood which they use for those troubled with spleen (as 
though the drink given them from such cups should do 
them good). 


1-117. EREIKA 


suggested: Erice [Fuchs], Erica vulgaris glabra [Bauhin], 
Calluna vulgaris [in Sprague] — Heath 

E rica is a shrubby tree like myrica [1-116] (but a great 
deal smaller) the flowers of which the bees use, but 
they make honey with it that is not good. The leaves and 
flowers applied as a poultice heal snakebites. 

1-118. AKAKALIS 


UNKNOWN 

A cacalis is the fruit of a shrub growing in Egypt, 
similar to the fruit of the myrica [1-116]. A dilution of 
it is mixed with eye medicines which are good for 
sharpening the sight. 

1-119. RAMNOS TRISSUS 

suggested: Uva-crispa [Fuchs], G rossularia simplici acino, 
Spinosa sylvestris [Bauhin], Ribes uva-crispa [Linnaeus], 

R ibes g rossularia [Mabberley] — Gooseberry 

[other usage] Common Buckthorn, Purging Buckthorn 
— R hamnus catharticus 

R hamnus is a shrub (growing around hedges) with 
upright stems and sharp thorns like oxyacantha, and 
the leaves are small, somewhat long, thick and soft. There 


117 


GUMS from TREES 


is another besides this that is paler, and a third having 
darker and broader leaves, a little inclined to red; with 
long stems of five feet and more, thorny, with its hairs 
less strong and stiff. The fruit of it is broad, white and 
thin, shaped like a little pouch or whorl. The leaves of all 
of them are effective rubbed on for erysipelas 
[inflammatory skin disease] and herpes [viral skin 
infection]. It is said that the branches laid in gates or 
windows drive away the enchantments of witches. [If 
anyone picks up rhamnus while the moon is decreasing 
and holds it, it is effective against poison and mischief; 
and it is good for beasts to carry it around them; and for it 
to be put around ships; and it is good against headaches; 
and against devils and their assaults.] 

It is also called persephonion, or leucacantha, the 
Romans call it spina alba, some, spina cerualis, and the 
Africans call it atadin. 

1-120. ALIMOS 


suggested: A triplex halimus, Chenopodium halimus 
— Sea Purslane, Sea Orach 

see 2-145 


H alimus is a hedge-shrub like rhamnus [above] — 
somewhat white, without filaments. The leaves 
almost resemble those of the olive tree, yet they are 
broader and more tender. It grows in maritime places 
and hedges. The leaves are boiled like vegetables with 
meat. One teaspoon of the root (taken as a drink with 
honey and water) alleviates convulsions, hernias and 
griping, and causes an abundance of mil k [in 
breastfeeding]. It is also called damassonium, erymon, 
britannica, rabdion, a sort of little twig, basil ion, or a sort of 
regia. The Magi call it mercurii basis, or sapsis, some, osiridis 
diadema , others, heliostephanon, a sort of corona of the sun 
or sacer caulis. Pythagoras calls it anthenoron, the 
Egyptians, asontiri, some, asphe, asealuri, or asariphen, the 
Romans, albucus, and some, ampelucia. 


118 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-121. PALIOUROS 

suggested: Paliurus aculeatus, Paliurus australis, 
Paliurus spina-Christi, R hamnus paliurus — Christ's Thom, 
Jerusalem Thorn, Garland Thorn 

P aliurus is a well-known shrub, prickly and strong. 

The fat seed is found blackened with fungus. Taken 
in a drink it helps coughs, breaks stones [urinary] in the 
bladder, and is good for the stings of snakes. The leaves 
and root are therefore astringent; a decoction of them 
(taken as a drink) regulates the bowels, draws out urine, 
and is good against poison and the bites of venomous 
beasts. The root pounded into small pieces and applied as 
a plaster dissolves all new tubercula [nodules] and oedema. 

1 - 122 . OXUAKANTHA 


suggested: Oxyacantha, Berberis [Fuchs], 

Berberis dumetorum [Bauhin], Berberis vulgaris [Linnaeus] 

— Barberry 

[other usage] Lac Sumach — R hus oxyacantha 
Hawthorn, White Thorn, May Bush, Quick 
— Crataegus oxyacantha 

O xyacantha is a tree like a wild pear tree, but smaller 
and very prickly. It bears a fruit like myrtle — full, 
red, easily broken — with a kernel within, and a deep 
root divided into many parts. 

Taken in a drink or eaten, the fruit stops stomach 
outflows and the flows of women. The root bruised small 
and applied draws out splinters and thorns. It is said that 
the root is able to cause abortions, the stomach being 
touched gently with it or rubbed with it. It is also called 
pyrin a, or pytyanthe. 

1-123. KUNOSBATON 


suggested: Rubus caninus, Cynobatus, Rosa canina 
— Dog Rose, Hiprose, Canker Flower, Dog Briar 

C ynosbatus [dogs' bush] (also called oxyacantha) is a 
shrub much bigger than a common bush — almost 
the size of a tree. It bears leaves a great deal broader than 


121 


GUMS from TREES 


myrtle, and has strong hairs around the sprigs, white 
flowers, and somewhat long fruit like the kernel of the 
olive. When this is ripe it grows red and the stuff within is 
downy. The dried fruit stops discharges from the 
intestines (the downy stuff of it is taken out for this is 
worthless for the arteries). It is made hot in wine and 
taken as a drink. 


1-124. KUPROS 

suggested: Cyprus, Cypre, Law sonia inermis, Law sonia alba 
— Henna, Egyptian Privet 

C yprus is a tree with leaves on the sprigs like the olive, 
but broader, softer and greener; the flowers white 
and mossy with a sweet smell, and the seed black like the 
fruit of sambucus [4-174], The best grows in Ascalon and 
Canopus. The leaves are astringent, as a result they are 
chewed to help ulcers in the mouth, and applied as a 
poultice they cure all other hot inflammations and 
carbuncles [malignant tumours]. A decoction of them is 
used as a warm pack for those burnt by fire. The leaves, 
pounded into small pieces, are steeped in the juice of 
Struthium [2-193] and rubbed on to dye the hair yellow. 
The flowers (pounded into small pieces and applied the 
forehead with vinegar) cause headaches to cease. The 
ointment cyprinum [1-65] that is prepared from it 
becomes heating and softens the tendons. It has a sweet 
smell which it adds to hot medicines when it is mixed 
with them. 


1-123. PHILLUREA 


SUGGESTED: Phillyrea latifolia — Mock Privet, Jasmine Box 

P hillyrea is a tree like Cyprus [1-124] in size. Its leaves are 
like those of the olive tree but broader and darker. It 
has fruit like the lentisk [1-90] — black, somewhat sweet, 
lying in bunches like grapes. It grows in rough places. 
The leaves are astringent like those of the wild olive 
[1-37], effective for things that need astringency 
especially ulcers in the mouth, either chewed or the sores 
washed with a decoction of it. Taken as a drink it draws 
out urine and the menstrual flow. 


122 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-126. KUSTOS ARREN, KUSTOS 
THELUS 


suggested: Cistus ellipticus, H elianthemum chamaecistus, 

H elianthemum vulgare — Common Rockrose, Sunrose 
Cistus creticus, Cistus vuigaris,Cistus polymorphus 
— Cretan Rockrose 

C istus (also called cistharon or cissaron ) is a shrub 
which grows in rocky places. It has many low 
branches full of round, black, rough leaves. The flowers 
of the male are like the pomegranate, but the female are 
white. It has an astringent quality; as a result the flowers 
(pounded into small pieces and taken as a drink twice a 
day in sharp wine) are good for dysentery. Applied as a 
poultice by themselves they stop gangrenous ulceration 
of the cheeks, and with a stiff ointment they heal burns 
and old ulcers. 

1-127. UPOKUSTIS, UPOKISTIS ETERA 


suggested: Cytinus hypocistis — Hypocistis 

parasitic plant — contains gallic acid 


H ypocistis grows around the roots of the cistus [rock 
roses] like cytinus on the pomegranate. Some of it is 
yellow, some green, some white. It is juiced like acacia, 
but some dry and break it, then steep and boil it, and do 
other things to it in the same way as iycium [1-132], It is 
similar in strength to acacia, yet more astringent and 
drying — good for those troubled with colic, dysentery, 
blood-spitting, or women's excessive discharges — taken 
either as a drink or infused. It is called robethrum, or 
cytinus by some. The Africans call it phyllesade. 

1-128. LAD ANON 

suggested: Ladanum, Labdanum, Cistus iadaniferus, 

Cistus creticus — Gum Cistus, Ladanum Resin Tree 
Cistus I edon — Many-flavoured Gum Cistus 

T here is also another kind of cistus, called ledum by 
some. It is a shrub growing in the same way as cistus. 


125 


GUMS from TREES 


but it has longer, darker leaves, acquiring some fat in the 
spring. The strength of the leaves is astringent, doing all 
the things that cistus does. That which we call ladanum is 
made from this plant. The he-goats and she-goats feed on 
the leaves of it and evidently carry away the fat from 
them on their beards and thighs because it has a viscous 
nature. This is taken off, strained, fashioned into little 
balls and stored. Some draw little cords across the shrubs, 
take off the greasy matter that adheres to them and shape 
it. The best has a sweet smell, is somewhat green, easily 
softened, fat, without sand — not foul and resinous such 
as that growing in Cyprus — but the Arabic and Libyan 
has less value. 

It is astringent, warming and softening, and opens 
closely-touching [blood] vessels. It prevents hair falling 
out [alopecia] mixed with wine, myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] 
and oil of myrtle. Rubbed on with wine it makes scars 
look more handsome. It cures earache dropped in the 
ears with honey water or rosaceum [1-53]. The smoke is 
inhaled to expel the afterbirth, and mixed in a pessary it 
cures hard lumps in the womb. It is effective in 
pain-relievers, cough medicines and warm compresses. 
Taken as a drink with old wine it stops discharges of the 
bowels, and it is also diuretic. 

1-129. EBENOS 


suggested: D iospyros ebenum — Ceylon Ebony 
E benus cretica, Anthyllis cretica — Cretan Silver Bush 

T he Ethiopian ebenus [ebony] is best — black, without 
veins, as smooth as a horn that has been polished — 
which shows thick [close or compact] when broken, 
biting to the taste and gently astringent. Laid on coals 
and burnt like incense it yields a sweet smell without 
smoke. That which is new when put on fire is quickly 
kindled because of its fat, and it turns somewhat yellow 
on a whetstone. There is another (called Indian) with 
streaks of white and yellow running between as well as 
many spots. But the former is better. Some sell the wood 
of sesame and acanthus (because they are somewhat 
similar) as ebenus. They are known by this: — they are 
hollow like a sponge, and are formed into small pieces 
inclining to a purple colour with nothing biting in the 


126 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


taste nor sweet-smelling when burnt. E ben US cleans away 
things which darken the pupils of the eyes, and it is good 
for old discharges and pustules. If anyone makes a 
grinding pad of it, and uses it to rub eye salves or 
suppositories on they will work better. It is made into eye 
medicines: the scrapings or dust from it steeped in Chian 
[from Scios in the Aegean sea] wine for a day and a night, 
then carefully pounded and converted into eye salves or 
suppositories. Some beat it first, then sift it and proceed 
in the same way. Some use water instead of wine. It is also 
burnt in a new ceramic jar until it becomes coals, and is 
then washed like burnt lead [5-96]. This is good for 
itching eyes and dry inflammation of the eyes. 

1-130. RHODON 


suggested: R osa, R osa hortensis et sylvestris [Fuchs], 

R osa rubra [Bauhin], R osa gallica [Linnaeus] 

— Common Rose, French Rose 

R odon [roses] cool and are astringent, and dried roses 
are more astringent. The juice must be pressed out of 
them whilst they are still young, first cutting off that 
which is called the nail (which is the white that is in the 
petal), and the rest must be pounded and pounded in the 
shade in a mortar until it becomes thick, and then put in 
jars for eye salves or suppositories. The leaves are also 
dried in the shade. They must be turned over now and 
then least otherwise they putrefy or grow mouldy. Dried 
roses (boiled in wine and strained) are good for 
headaches, as well as the eyes, ears and gums, and pain of 
the perineum, intestine, rectum and vulva, applied with 
a feather or washed with the liquid. The same (without 
straining) bruised, boiled and applied, are good for 
inflammation of the area below the ribs, moistness of the 
stomach and erysipela [streptococcal skin infection], Roses 
(dried and pounded into small pieces) are sprinkled on 
the thighs. They are put in compositions called antherae 
[medicines extracted from flowers] and in wound 
antidotes. They are burnt for medicines to make the 
eyelids look pleasing. The part of the flower that is found 
in the middle of the roses (dried and sprinkled on) is 
good for gum discharges. The heads [hips] (taken in a 
drink) stop loose intestines and blood-spitting. 


129 


GUMS from TREES 


1-131. RHODIDES 


suggested: Rhodides, Rosa,Rosa hortensis, Rosa sylvestris 
[Fuchs], Rosa rubra [Bauhin] , R osa ga/lica [Linnaeus] 

— Pomanders of Roses, Common Rose, French Rose 

P omanders of roses (which they call rhodides) are made 
in the following way. Take forty teaspoonfuls of 
fresh roses (which are beginning to fade) before they 
have absorbed any moisture, ten teaspoonfuls of Indian 
nard [1-6] and six teaspoonfuls of myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 
4-116]. These are pounded into small pieces and made 
into little balls the size of half a teaspoonful, dried in the 
shade, and stored in a jar made without pitch, tightly 
corked all around. Some also add two teaspoons of costus 
[1-15] and as much Illyrian iris, also mixing in Chian 
[from Scios in the Aegean sea] wine with honey. This is 
used around women's necks instead of necklaces, dulling 
the unsavoury smell of sweat. They use the same 
(pounded into small pieces) in medicines made to repress 
sweat, and in ointments to rub on after bathing; and 
when they have dried on the skin they are washed off 
with cold water. 


1-132. LUKION 

SUGGESTED: Lycium europaeum — European Box Thorn 
Lycium lanceolatum, Rhamnus infectorius [Matthiolus] 

— Spear-leaved Box Thorn 

L ycium (also called pyxacantha ) is a thorny tree with 
stems of three feet or longer around which the leaves 
grow thickly, similar to box. It has a black fruit similar to 
pepper — bitter, thick, smooth; a pale bark also similar 
when moistened, and many winding and woody roots. It 
grows abundantly in Cappadocia, Lycia and many other 
places. It loves rough places. The juice is drawn out of the 
leaves and shrubby stuff, pounded together and steeped 
for many days. Then it is boiled, the woody matter of it 
removed, and the liquid boiled again until it becomes the 
consistency of honey. It is counterfeited by the sediment 
of oil being mixed with it when boiled, or the juice of 
wormwood [3-26], or an ox gall. The froth which swims 
on top during boiling is taken off and bottled for eye 


130 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


medicines, but the rest is used for other purposes. 
Similarly, juice is made from the fruit pressed out and left 
in the sun. The best lycium takes fire and as it is quenched 
has a red foam. It is outwardly black but when it is cut 
yellow, without a stinking smell, astringent with 
bitterness, the colour of saffron — such as the Indian 
which is better than the rest and more effective. It is 
astringent and removes things that darken the pupils. It 
heals scabs on the eyelids, their itching and old 
discharges. Rubbed on it is good for pus-filled ears, 
tonsils, ulcerous gums, chapped lips, cracks in the 
perineum, and affritus [chafing] of the perineum. It is 
good for those troubled with colic and dysentery either 
taken as a drink or given as a suppository. It is given in 
water to those who spit-up blood, and those troubled 
with coughs, and is swallowed down like pills or taken as 
a drink with water for one bitten by a mad dog. It makes 
hair look yellow. It heals hangnails, whitlows, shingles 
and putrefying ulcers. It stops the menstrual flows of 
women. It helps those bitten by mad beasts, taken as a 
drink with milk or swallowed down like pills. 

It is said that the Indian lycium is made of a shrub 
called I on chi ti s [3-161, 3-162], But it is a kind of thorn that 
has many upright stems, three feet long or more, growing 
out of the bottom, thicker than the bush, the broken bark 
looking red but the leaves similar to those of the olive 
tree. Boiled in vinegar and taken as a drink it is said to 
cure inflammation of the spleen and sickness of the head, 
and to expel women's flows. Given raw (pounded into 
small pieces) and taken in a drink it is said to have a 
similar effect. One half-wineglass of the seed (taken in 
drink) purges out watery matter, and is an antidote 
against deadly medicines. 

1-133. AKAKIA 

suggested: A cacia, A kakia, A cacia Senegal , A cad a arabica, 

A cacia nilotica, M imosa arabica, A cacia gummifera, 

M imosa gummifera, A cacia stenocarpia — Gum Arabic 
A cacia catechu, M imosa catechu, M imosa catechoides 
— Black Cutch, Kutch [Catcho or Kat 16th century] 

A cacia grows in Egypt. It is a thornbush with many 
branches, growing almost to the size of a tree. It does 


133 


GUMS from TREES 


not grow upright; it has a white flower, and the fruit lies 
in pods like lupin [2-132], From this a juice is pressed out 
and dried in the shade. It looks black if it is made of the 
ripe fruit, but a pale yellow if it is made of the unripe. 
Choose that which is a little yellow, sweet-smelling, as far 
as is fit in acacia. Some juice the leaves together with the 
fruit. There is also a gum that comes out of this thorn 
which is astringent and cooling. The juice is good for eye 
diseases, erysipela [streptococcal skin infection], creeping 
sores, chilblains, pterygium [membrane on eye], ulcers of 
the mouth, and falling [sunken] eyes. It stops the flows of 
women as well as prolapse of the vulva. It is therapeutic 
for the bowels taken as a drink or a suppository, and it 
dyes hair black. Pounded with water it is a wash for eye 
diseases. That which coalesces is then poured out (until 
the water remains clean) and is made up into little balls. It 
is burnt in an unfired clay jar in a furnace until the jar 
itself is thoroughly burned. It is burnt on coals, the fire 
kept kindled with bellows. A decoction of the thorns 
closes together loose joints applied with hot cloths. The 
gum of the thorns is the best — which is vermicuiatum — 
resembling glass, transparent, not woody; next to this is 
the white gum; but that which is resinous and foul is 
useless. It is able to close pores and dull the strength of 
sharp medicines with which it is mixed. Daubed on with 
an egg it does not allow burns to break out into pustules. 

Another acacia grows in Cappadocia and Pontus, 
similar to the Egyptian but a great deal smaller, growing 
low and being more tender, surrounded crosswise with 
filaments, and having leaves similar to rue [3-52, 3-53]. In 
the autumn it bears seed somewhat smaller than lentil, in 
pods joined together each containing three or four seeds 
apiece. The juice of this (drawn out of the whole plant) is 
therapeutic for the bowels, but is of less strength and 
useless in eye medicines. 

1-134. AMORGE 


SUGGESTED: A murca — Sediment of Olive Oil 

A murca is the sediment of oil which has been pressed 
out and boiled in a jar made of Cyprian brass until it 
is the consistency of honey. It is therapeutic for the 
bowels, and rubbed on with wine, vinegar, or honeyed 


134 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


wine is as effective as lycium [1-132] for toothaches and 
wounds. It is mixed with medicines that are good for the 
eyes and for closing pores. Growing old it becomes better. 
Taken as an infusion it is good for the perineum, the 
genitals, and ulcerated vulvas. It extracts spoiled teeth, 
boiled to the consistency of honey with unripe olive oil 
and smeared around them. It heals scabs on beasts 
[veterinary] rubbed on with a decoction of lupins [2-132] 
and chamaeleon [3-10, 3-11]. Used without boiling and 
new in a warm pack it assists those troubled with gout in 
their feet and joints. Put onto a fleece and applied on 
those who have dropsy it represses the swelling. 

1-135. AGNOS 

suggested: Vitex agnus-castus — Agnus Castus, Hemp Tree, 

Chaste-tree 

A gnus [vitex] is a shrub almost as high as a tree bearing 
long sprigs, growing near and in watery fields and 
in rough and uneven places. It is hard to break and the 
leaves are similar to those of the olive tree yet more 
tender and bigger. Some of them bear white flowers 
inclining to purple, others purple flowers; and the seed is 
like that of pepper. It is warming and astringent and the 
fruit (taken as a drink) helps those stung by snakes, the 
splenetic, and those with dropsy. A teaspoonful (taken as 
a drink in wine) brings down mi l k [breastfeeding] and 
expels the menstrual flow. It destroys generation [birth 
control] and is rubbed on the head bringing on a deep 
sleep. A decoction of the herb and seed is good as a hip 
bath for disorders and inflammation around the womb. 
The seed (taken in a drink with pulegium [3-36], or the 
smoke inhaled or applied) causes purgation. It dissolves 
headaches applied as a poultice, and is gently poured on 
the lethargic and mentally ill with vinegar and oil. The 
leaves either smoked and inhaled or scattered around 
drive away venomous creatures, and applied as a 
poultice they help those stung by such beasts. Applied 
with butter and vine leaves they soothe hardness of the 
testes [old English: ovaries]. The seeds smeared on with 
water lessen cracks in the perineum, and with the leaves 
it heals dislocated joints and wounds. It is thought to be a 
preventative for chafing and blisters if anyone (as he 


137 


GUMS from TREES 


travels) holds a rod of it in his hand. It is called agnus 
because in the sacrifices to Ceres the chaste matrons used 
it for sprinkling under them; and it is called iygos (that is, 
vimen) because of the difficulty of breaking the stems. It is 
also called agon on (as we should say, unfruitful or barren), 
or lygon, a sort of vimen [producing long flexible shoots], 
amictomiaenon, or tridactylon; the Magi call it semnon, a sort 
of venerandum [to be respected]; it is also called sanguis 
ibis, the Egyptians call it sum, the Romans, salix marina, 
others call it piper agreste, and some, ligusticum. 

1-136. ITEA 


suggested: Primum salicis genus, Alterum salicis genus [Fuchs], 
Salix purpurea, Salix vitellina, Salix repens [Linnaeus] 

— Creeping Willow [Mabberley] 

[other usage] Itea Hid folia, Itea virginica, Itea riparia 

I tea is a tree known to all whose fruit, leaves, bark and 
juice are astringent. The leaves pounded into small 
pieces and taken in a drink with a little pepper and wine 
help those troubled with iiiaca passio [painful intestinal 
obstruction]. Taken by themselves with water they cause 
inconception [birth control]. The fruit (taken in a drink) is 
good for those who spit blood, and the bark does the 
same. Burnt and steeped in vinegar it takes away calluses 
and corns, rubbed on them. The juice from the leaves and 
bark warmed with rosaceum [1-53] in a cup of malum 
punicum [pomegranate] helps sores in the ears, and a 
decoction of them is an excellent warm pack for gout. It 
also cleans away scurf [eczema]. A juice is taken from it at 
the time of its flowering, the bark being cut, for it is found 
coalesced within. It has the ability to clean away things 
that darken the pupils. 


138 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-137. AGRIELAIA 


SUGGESTED: 0 lea europaea var oleaster — Wild Olive 
Elaeagnus angusti folia— Oleaster, Oil Tree, 

Zakkoum Oil Plant 
Elaeis guineensis — Oil Palm 
Cotinus coggyria, Rhus cotinus — Venetian Sumach, 
Smoke Tree 

T he wild olive tree (also called cot i non or the Ethiopian 
olive tree) has leaves of an astringent nature which 
— pounded into small pieces and so applied — are able to 
restrain erysipela [streptococcal skin infection], shingles 
[herpes], epin yetis [pustules which appear only at night], 
carbuncles [malignant tumours], gangrenous ulceration, 
hangnails and whitlows; and (applied with honey) to 
take away scabs. They clean foul ulcers and dispel pain 
and inflammation. Applied with honey they retain skin 
that was torn on the head. They also heal ulcers in the 
mouth and apthae [thrush in children or candidiasis] 
when chewed. Their juice and a decoction of them does 
the same. The juice applied stops eruption of the blood, 
the flows of women, staphylomata [inflammatory 
protrusion of the cornea] in the eyes, and pustules [pus 
under skin], as well as ulcers and old dripping fluids. As a 
result put into eye salves they are good for ulcers of the 
eyelids. To extract the juice you must beat the leaves into 
small pieces and pour in wine or water, then strain it out, 
and having dried it in the sun, make it up into little balls. 
That which is strained out with wine is far stronger and 
fitter to be kept in store than that which is strained out 
with water. It is good for ulcerous ears that are full of 
discharges. The leaves smeared on with barley meal are 
good for coeliac [intestinal complaints]. The leaves (and 
this serves instead of spodium, calcined powder) are burnt 
together with the flowers in an unfired clay jar the mouth 
of which must be well sealed until the jar is thoroughly 
baked. Afterwards they are quenched with wine, then 
kneaded together again with wine and burnt in the same 
way. Afterwards they are washed like cerussa [white lead 
ore] and made up into balls. It seems that burnt like this it 
comes nothing short of spodium [calcined powder] for eye 
medicines; as a result it is to be considered of equal 
strength. 


141 


GUMS from TREES 


1-138. ELAIA 


suggested: 0 lea europaea — Olive 

T he leaves of the cultivated olive are good for the same 
purposes but have less strength — as a result they are 
better for eye medicines because of their mildness. The 
moisture which comes out of the burnt green wood 
(rubbed on) heals dandruff, parasitic skin diseases and 
lichen [papular skin disease]. The fruit applied as a 
poultice heals dandruff and gangrenous ulceration of the 
cheeks. That which is within the kernel pulls off scabby 
nails used with animal fat and corn meal. 

1-139. ELAIA KOLUMBADES 


suggested: 0 lea europaea — Pickled Olives, Olive 

P ickled olives pounded into small pieces and applied 
as a poultice will not allow burns to grow into 
blisters, and they clean foul ulcers.The liquid of the brine 
used as a mouthwash strengthens gums and loose teeth. 
The olive which is pale yellow and new is worthless for 
the intestines but good for the stomach. That which is 
black and ripe is easily spoiled and bad for the stomach, 
as well as hurtful to the eyes and a cause of headaches. 
Roasted and applied as a poultice it prevents gangrenous 
ulceration, and emarginates [removes the edge of] 
carbuncles [infected boils] [malignant skin tumours]. 

1-140. AGRIELAIA ELAION 

suggested: 0 lea europaea var oleaster — Wild Olive 

T he oil of the wild olive is a mouth rinse for moist 
rotten gums, and it settles loose teeth. A warm pack 
of it warmed and used as a mouthwash is a suitable 
medicine for rheumatic gums, but wool dipped into the 
oil must be placed around the gums with an instrument 
until they look white. 


142 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-141. DAKRUON ELAIAS AITHIOPIKES 


suggested: 0 lea europaea var oleaster — Wild Olive 
Elaeagnus angusti folia- Oleaster, Oil Tree, 
Zakkoum Oil Plant 
Elaeisguineensis— Oil Palm 
Cotinus coggyria, R hus cotinus — Venetian Sumach, 
Smoke Tree 

The third pressing of olive oil is also called tree oil. 


T he oozing of the Ethiopian olive tree in a way 
resembles scammony. It is a deep yellow consisting 
of little drops of a biting nature. That which is similar to 
gum and ammoniacal — blackish, and not biting to the 
taste — is useless. The olive tree and wild olive tree bear 
such a gum as this. It is good for moisture of the sight, and 
rubbed on it cleans scars and white spots on the cornea of 
the eyes. It induces the movement of urine and the 
menstrual flow, and it is effective for toothache put into 
the cavities. It is categorised among medicines that are 
destructive, it expels the birth, and cures impetigo [skin 
infection] and lepra [old use — psoriasis]. The wild olive 
tree is also called the Ethiopian olive tree. 

1-142. DRUS 

suggested: Quercus cum longo pediculo [Bauhin], 
Quercusrobur [Linnaeus], Q uercus pedunculata, 

Q uercus sessiflora — Oak 

E ach part of the oak is astringent, but the film which 
lies between the bark and the stock (similar to that 
under the cup of the acorn) is most therapeutic for the 
bowels. A decoction of this is given for coeliac [intestinal 
complaints], dysentery, and to blood-spitters, and 
pounded into small pieces it is put into suppositories for 
women troubled with excessive discharges of the womb. 


145 


GUMS from TREES 



1-143. BALANOI 

suggested: Quercus robur, Quercuspedunculata, 

Q uercus sessi flora, Q uercus aegilops, Q uercus cerris, 

Q uercus cocci fera — Acorns, Oak 
Quercus ilex, Q uercus ballota — Holly Oak 
Quercus infectoria, Quercus lusitanica — Gall Oak, Dyer's Oak, 

Nut Gall Oak 

A corns produce the same effects as they are also 
diuretic. Eaten as meat they cause headaches and 
are wind-inducing, but also help poisonous bites. A 
decoction of them and their bark (taken as a drink with 
cows’ milk) helps poisoning. The unripe ones pounded 
into small pieces and applied as a poultice relieve 
inflammation. With salted swines' grease they are good 
for malignant calluses and injurious ulcers. Those of the 
ilex [holly oak — Quercus ilex] have greater strength than 
those of the oak. 


1-144. PHEGOS, PRINOS 

suggested: Fagus sylvatica — Common Beech, 
European Beech Tree 

[Pliny] Prinus, Quercus ballota — Holm Oak, 
Great Scarlet Oak 

The fagus of Virgil was the 0 uercus aesculus [Loudon], 


F egus and prinus, both a kind of oak, have similar 
effects, and the bark of the root of prinus boiled in 
water until it becomes tender and rotten and applied for 
a whole night dyes the hair black. It is first made clean 
with Cimolian earth [5-176]. The leaves of all of them 
bruised and pounded into small pieces help oedema, and 
strengthen feeble parts. 


146 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


FRUIT from TREES 

1-145. KASTANA 


suggested: Castanea [Fuchs], Castanea sylvestris [Bauhin], 
Fagus castanea [Linnaeus], Castanea sativa, Castanea vesca, 
Castanea vulgaris— Chestnut, Sweet Chestnut 

T he Sardian nuts (also called lopima, castana, mota or 
Jupiter's acorns) being astringent also have the same 
effects [as other astringents], and especially the loose 
skins between the flesh and the shell. The flesh is good 
for those who drink ephemerum [4-85] [antidote]. 

1-146. KEKIDES 


suggested: Q uercus lusitanica, Q uercus infectoria 
— Dyer's Oak, Gall Oak, Nut Gall Oak 

C ecides [gal I a] is a fruit of the oak, of which some is 
called omphacitis. It is little, knobby, heavy and 
without a hole. Some is smooth and light and has a hole 
in it, but the omphacitis ought to be chosen as it is the most 
effective. Either of them is strongly astringent. Pounded 
into small pieces they stop abnormal growths of the flesh, 
and stop discharges of the gums and the middle ear, as 
well as ulcers of the mouth. That which is in the middle of 
them put into the cavities of teeth eases the pain. Laid on 
hot coals until they are set on fire and quenched with 
wine, vinegar, or brine made with vinegar they are able 
to staunch blood. A decoction of them is good in hip 
baths for a prolapsed uterus and for discharges. They 
make the hair black steeped in vinegar or water. They are 
good for coeliac [intestinal complaints] and dysentery 
pounded into small pieces and rubbed on, or taken as a 
drink with wine or water, and also mixed with sauce, or 
first boiled whole in water (with which you must boil 
something else too, of things that are good for people). 
Generally where there is need of an astringent, or to stop 
or dry, you ought to make use of them. 


149 


FRUIT from TREES 


1-147. ROUS 


SUGGESTED: Rhus COriaria — Tanning Sumach 

R hus (which is sprinkled among sauces and also called 
ery thrum) is the fruit of rhus coriaria, which is called 
this because tanners use it for thickening their hides. It is 
a little tree which grows on rocks — two feet high, the 
leaves somewhat long and red, jagged all around. The 
fruit is like little bunches of grapes — thick, the size of 
that of terminthos [1-91], and somewhat broad. That 
which encloses the fruit is very useful. The leaves are 
astringent and good for the same purposes as acacia. A 
decoction dyes the hair black, and is a suppository for 
dysentery. It is a liquid medicine, hip bath, and an 
instillation for discharges of the ears. The leaves applied 
as a poultice with vinegar or honey stop pterygium 
[membrane on the eye] and gangrene. The juice of the 
dried leaves boiled with water to the consistency of 
honey are as useful for as many things as lycium [1-132], 
The fruit does the same things (being food) in mixing it 
with meat for coetiac [intestinal complaints] and 
dysentery. Applied as a plaster with water it prevents 
inflammation of fractures, desquamation or skin peeling, 
and blueness of wounds. It cleans rough tongues with 
honey. It prevents the excessive discharges called whites 
[leucorrhoea — a mucosal vaginal discharge] and cures 
haemorrhoids, applied with oak coals pounded into 
small pieces. The boiled liquid of this fruit gathers a 
cream that is better for these purposes than the fruit itself. 
It also leaves a gum which is put into the cavities of teeth 
to take away their pain. 


after FAGUET — 1878 


Rhus coraria 



150 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


FRUIT TREES 

1-148. PHOINIX 

suggested: Poma, Phoenix dactylifera — Dates, Date Palm 
Phoenix sylvestris — Wild Palm 

T he palm tree grows in Egypt. The fruit is gathered in 
the autumn, the ripening time being half over. It is 
similar to the Arabic myrobalan [1-40, 4-160] and it is called 
poma. It is a green colour, and similar to cydonium [1-160] 
in smell, but if it is left alone until it comes to the full 
ripeness it becomes dates. It is sour and astringent and is 
taken in a drink with hard wine for discharges from tooth 
sockets and the menstrual flows of women. It stops 
haemorrhoids and glues wounds together if it is rubbed 
on. Fresh dates are more astringent than dried. They 
cause headaches and if eaten in too great an abundance 
with meat they inebriate. Dried dates eaten with meat are 
good for blood-spitting, the stomach, and dysentery. It is 
pounded into small pieces with cydonium [1-160] and the 
waxy ointment oenanthinum [from vine shoots or 
blossoms] and rubbed on for disorders of the bladder. 
The caryotae [pips, seeds] heal roughness of the arteries if 
eaten. 


1-149. PHOINIKES THEBAIKAI 


suggested: H yphaen e thebai ca, H yphaen e cocci fera, 
Coccifera thebaica, Corypha thebaica, Douma thebaica 
— Doum Palm, Gingerbread Tree 

A drink of a decoction of the Thebaean palm relieves a 
fever's burning heat, and taken with old honey 
water it restores the strength. Eaten with meat it does the 
same. A wine is also made of it that has the same strength 
as the fruit. A decoction taken as a drink alone (and 
gargled up and down as well) is strongly astringent. The 
seeds of the dates are burnt in a new ceramic jar like all 
others are, then quenched and washed in wine. They 
serve well instead of spodium [calcined powder] to make 
the eyelids pleasing, and if they are not sufficiently burnt 
they must be burnt again. They are astringent and close 


153 


FRUIT TREES 


the pores, also being good for pustules in the eyes and 
Staphylomata [inflammatory protrusion of the cornea]; 
and for dripping fluids of the eyelids (some nard [1-6, 1-7, 
1-8, 1-10] being mixed with them). With wine they stop 
abnormal growths of the flesh and bring ulcers to a scar. 
The best seeds come out of Egypt from the low-growing 
palms. 


1-150. PHOINIX ELATE 


suggested: Palma, Elate, Spatha, Phoenix dactylifera 
— Palm, Coverings of Date Fruits, Date Palm 

Borassus f label lifer — Palmyra Palm, Tal Palm, 
Great Fan Palm 

yields wine and sugar 


P alma which is also called elate or spatha is the 
enclosure [or cup] of the fruit of the date trees as yet 
flourishing. The dealers in unguents [ointments] use it 
for thickening their ointments. The best is 
sweet-smelling, astringent, heavy, enclosed, having that 
within it fat. It is astringent for stopping feeding ulcers, 
and it draws loose joints together if it is pounded into 
small pieces and mixed together with warm compresses 
and poultices. It is good for the thoracic area [heart], a 
stomach that is out of tune, and disorders of the liver, 
mixed with poultices suitable for this purpose. A 
decoction of it dyes the hair black if it is rubbed on it 
repeatedly. Given in drink it is good for inflammation in 
the kidneys, and disorders of the bladder and the bowels. 
It stops discharges of the intestines and a womb troubled 
with an excessive discharge. Boiled whilst it is tender and 
applied with rosin and wax for twenty days together it 
cures psoriasis. The fruit which is contained inside is 
called elate or borassus and that is also astringent and 
produces the same effects as spatha [above], except that it 
is not so good in ointments. The white marrow of the 
stalk (eaten while it is new, or else boiled) is good for the 
same things as borassus. 


154 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 




Arbutus unedo 
after FAGUET — 1892 


155 


FRUIT TREES 



156 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-151. RHOA 


suggested: Punica granatum — Carthaginian Apple, 
Pomegranate 

A ll sorts of pomegranates have a pleasant taste and 
are good for the stomach, yet they do not nourish. 
Of these the sweetest are best for the stomach, producing 
some heat around the stomach, and are flatulent as a 
result unsuitable for those with acute fever. That which is 
sharp helps a burning stomach, is more contractive and 
more diuretic, but tastes unpleasant to the mouth and is 
astringent. That which tastes similar to wine has a middle 
strength. The kernel of the sharp one (dried in the sun 
then sprinkled on meat and boiled together with it) stops 
discharges of the intestines and excessive discharges 
from the stomach. Steeped in rain water and taken as a 
drink it helps blood-spitters, and is good in hip baths for 
dysentery and the fluids of childbirth. The juice of the 
kernels (pressed out, then boiled and mixed with honey) 
is good for ulcers in the mouth, genitals and perineum; 
also for pterygium [membranes, webs] between the 
fingers, gangrenous ulcers, abnormal growths in ulcers, 
earache, and sores in the nostrils. This helps especially if 
the juice is pressed out of the grains of sharp 
pomegranates. 



Punica granatum 
after FAGUET — 1880 


1-152. KUTINOI 

suggested: Cytini, Punica granatum 
— calyx of Pomegranate Flowers 

T he flowers of this (which are also called cytini ) are 
astringent, drying and restringent, and agglutinate 
bloody wounds, being good for the same purposes as 
pomegranates. A decoction makes a mouth rinse for 
moist flagging gums and loose teeth, and it is put into 
poultices as a glue for teeth which are broken, [to repair 
the damage]. Some relate that whoever swallows down 
three cytini (though ever so little) shall not be troubled 
with eye sores all that year. They are juiced like hypocistis 
[ 1 - 127 ], 


157 


FRUIT TREES 


1-153. SIDIA 


suggested: Sidia, Punica granatum — Pomegranate Rinds 

T he rinds of pomegranate (also called sidia ) are also 
astringent and good for the same purposes as cytini 
[pomegranate flowers]. A decoction of the roots expels 
and kill s worms hidden in the intestines. 

1-154. BALAUSTION 


suggested: Balaustion [Bedevian ], Punica protopun ica 
[Mabberley] — Wild Pomegranate Tree 

B aiaustium is the flower of wild pomegranate of which 
there are many kinds — some white, some red and 
some a rosy colour. It is similar to cytini and is juiced in 
the same way as hypocistis. It is astringent and good for 
the same purposes as hypocistis and cytini [flowers of 
pomegranate]. 


1-155. MURSINE 


suggested: M yrtus communis var romana 
— Broad-leaved Myrtle 

[other usage] M yrsineafricana — African Myrsine 

see 4-146 


T he cultivated black myrtle is more effective for bodily 
uses than the white, and that which grows on the 
hills is the best, yet it has the weakest fruit. The herb and 
fruit are astringent. Both the green and dried fruit are 
given to eat to those who spit blood, and to those 
troubled with erosions of the bladder. The juice of green 
myrtle pressed out has the same effect, being good for the 
stomach and diuretic. It is good with wine for the bites of 
harvest spiders and one stung by a scorpion. A decoction 
of the fruit dyes the hair. Boiled with wine and applied as 
a poultice it heals ulcers that arise in the extremities of the 
body. Applied with flour of meal it lessens inflammation 
in the eyes. It is rubbed on for ulcers in the inner angle of 
the eye. The wine that is made from the fruit, pressed and 
boiled a little (for that which is not quickly grows sour) 


158 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Juglans regia 
after FAGUET — 1892 


159 


FRUIT TREES 



160 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


and taken as a drink beforehand, prevents [the effects of] 
excessive indulgence, and is good for the same things as 
the fruit. In hip baths it is good for prolapse of the vulva 
and perineum, and for women troubled with excessive 
menstrual flows from the vulva. It cleans dandruff, scaly 
eruptions of the hairy scalp and rashes such as measles, 
and it prevents hair falling out. 

It is mixed with gentle plasters (which they call I i paras) 
as is the oil that is made from the leaves. Similarly a 
decoction of the leaves is good for bathing joints that are 
loosened, and joints which grow together with difficulty. 
For fractures that grow together with difficulty it is 
effective applied with hot cloths. It cleans vitiligines [form 
of leprosy]. It is dropped in to cure ears full of discharge, 
and is used for blackening the hair, and the juice does the 
same. The leaves themselves pounded into small pieces 
and applied as a poultice with water are good for the 
moisture of ulcers, all places subject to excessive 
discharges, and for COdidC [intestinal complaints]. Oil of 
unripe olives or a little rosaceum [1-53] and wine mixed 
together [with this] are good for shingles [herpes], 
erysipelas [febrile disease with skin inflammation], 
inflammation of the testium [old use: ovaries], epinyctis 
[pustules which appear only at night] and joints. The dry 
leaves pounded into small pieces are effective scattered 
on paronychiae [whitlows], pterygium [membranes, webs], 
and on armpits and thighs that are moist, and it prevents 
sweats from cardiandi [disease of the heart]. Burnt or else 
used raw with stiff ointment they heal burns, pterygium 
[membranes, webs] and paronychiae [whitlows]. The 
leaves are juiced by pouring old wine or rain water on 
them and straining it out. It must be used newly-made for 
when old it putrefies and loses its strength. 

1-156. MURTIDANON 


SUGGESTED: M yrtidanum — Fungal growth on Myrtle 

M yrtidanum is that which grows on myrtle — 
unequal and standing out, similar to a wart and 
the same colour, similar to hands clasping around the 
body of the myrtle. It is more therapeutic for the bowels 
than myrtle. Bruised and mixed with hard wine and 
made into pellets, it is dried in the shade and put in jars to 


161 


FRUIT TREES 


store. It is more effective than the fruit and leaves. It is 
mixed with stiff ointments, suppositories, baths, 
poultices, and anywhere there is need of an astringent. 

1-157. KERASIA 

suggested: Cerasus [Fuchs], Prunus cerasus, Cerasus vulgaris, 

C erasus acida, C erasus caproniana — Cherry 
Cerasus avium, Prunus avium [Linnaeus] — Sour Cherry, 
Gean Cherry, Hedge Berry 

C erasia that are eaten when fresh are good for the 
intestines, and dried they stop discharges of the 
bowels. The gum from cerasia heals an old cough taken 
with diluted wine. It causes a good colour, sharpness of 
sight and appetite. Taken in a drink with wine it is good 
for those troubled with kidney stones. 

1-158. KERATIA 


suggested: Ceratonia siliqua — Carob Tree, Locust Tree, 

St John's Bread 

T he pods (taken while they are fresh) are bad for the 
stomach and loosen the intestines, but dried they 
stop discharges of the bowels. They are also better for the 
stomach and diuretic, especially combined with the 
remains left after pressing out grapes. 

1-159. MELEA 


suggested: Cotonea malus, Cydonia [Fuchs], 

M ala cotonea minora [Bauhin], Pyrus cydonia [Linnaeus], 
Cydonia oblonga, Cydonia vulgaris — Quince 

M alus communis, M alus sylvestris, Pomus, Pyrus malus — Apple 

T he leaves, blossoms and sprigs of all sorts of melea 
trees are astringent, especially those of the quince 
tree. The unripe fruit is astringent, but if ripe it is not so. 
Those apples which are ripe in the springtime encourage 
bile, are hurtful to all that is sinewy, and are flatulent. 


162 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



163 


FRUIT TREES 


nt ? AtiellanadomefHca, 



164 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-160. KUDONIA 


suggested: Cotonea malus, Cydonia [Fuchs], 

M ala cotonea minora [Bauhin], Pyrus cydonia [Linnaeus], 
Cydonia oblonga, Cydonia vulgaris — Quince 



C ydonia are good for the stomach and diuretic. If they 
are roasted they become milder and good for 
intestinal complaints and dysentery. Raw quinces are 
especially good for those who spit up purulent matter 
and for biliousness. The water in which these have been 
steeped is good as a drink for those troubled with 
excessive discharges from the stomach or bowels. The 
juice of the raw ones is taken and is good for orthopnoea 
[form of asthma], and a decoction is good in warm packs 
for prolapse of the perineum and vulva. In honey (or 
those preserved in honey) they are diuretic but the honey 
takes their strength and becomes astringent. Boiled with 
honey they are good for the stomach and pleasant to taste 
but less astringent. The same raw fruit is put into plasters 
to stop the bowels, as well as for churning and burning in 
the stomach, inflamed breasts, spleens that have grown 
hard, and for joints. Furthermore after they are well 
pounded and pressed a wine is made from them, and so 
that it may keep longer there is mixed with it one unit of 
honey to sixteen units of juice or else it would go sour. 
This is good for all the things previously specified. An 
ointment is made of these called melinum which we use 
when we need an astringent oil. You must choose out the 
right quinces — small and round and with a good scent; 
but those which are called struthia [ostrich-like] and are 
big are less effective. The dried blossoms as well as the 
fresh are suitable in plasters made for things that need an 
astringent, and besides this they are good (taken in a 
drink of wine) for inflammation of the eyes, bloody 
vomiting, tooth sockets that discharge fluids, and attacks 
mensium [monthly, menstrual problems]. 


Cydonia vulgaris 
after FAGUET — 1888 


165 


FRUIT TREES 


1-161. MELIMELA 


SUGGESTED: M elimela — Honey Apples, Must Apples, 
Cider Apples 

M el i met a soften the intestines and drive living 
creatures from there [worms]. They are bad for the 
stomach and cause a burning heat. They are called 
glycymela by some — as we should say, sweet apples. 

1-162. MELA EPEIROTIKA 

suggested: Pyrus pumila, Pyrus praecox — Apple 

epirot — one who dwells inland 

T he fruit of epirotica (which the Latins call orbiculata) 
are good for the stomach and astringent in the 
intestines, encouraging urine [diuretic], yet less effective 
than quinces. 


1-163. AGRIOMELA 

suggested: Pyrus malus var sylvestris — Crab Apples, 
Wild Apples 

W ild apples are similar to spring apples and are 
astringent, but for those things which need an 
astringent you must use those which are least ripe. 

1-164. PERSICA MELA 


suggested: Persica [Fuchs], Persica molli carne [Bauhin] 
Persica malus, Prunus persica , Persica vulgaris, 

A mygdalus persica [Linnaeus] — Peach 

Persica mela — Persian fruit 


T he fruit of persi ca are good for the stomach and for the 
intestines too if ripe, but the unripe are astringent in 
the intestines. Dried they are more astringent, and a 
decoction of them dried and taken stops a stomach and 
intestines troubled with excessive discharges. 


166 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Hiber/s* 

©Audjblum. 


185 



H iberis 

after FUCHS — 1545 


167 


FRUIT TREES 



Capparis tomentosa 
from ENGLER-PRANTL — 1897 


168 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-165. ARMENIACA 


suggested: Prunus armenaica, Armenaica vulgaris 
— Apricot Tree 
also: Prunus pseudoarmenaica 

T he smaller which are called Armenian and in Latin 
praecoqua [premature - ripe before their time] are 
better for the stomach than the ripe [above]. 

1-166. MEDIKA 

suggested: Citrus medica var limonum — Lemon 
Citrus medica var cedrata — Citron, Adam's Apple, 
Cedrat Tree 

T hose which are called Median, Persian, or cedromela 
and in the Latin citria, are known to all for it is a tree 
that bears fruit throughout the whole year one under 
another. The fruit itself is somewhat long, wrinkled, 
resembling gold in colour, smelling sweet with 
heaviness, with seed similar to a pear. Taken as a drink in 
wine it is able to resist poisons and SU bdu cere [to draw off] 
bowels. A decoction or the juice is a mouth rinse for sweet 
breath. It is especially eaten by women [as a remedy] 
against their lusting [anaphrodisiac]. The leaves are 
thought to preserve cloths from from being motheaten if 
they are put into the chests where the cloths are. 

1-167. APION 


suggested: Pirum, Pyrum, Puroi [Pliny], Pyrus communis 
— Cultivated Pear Tree 

T here are many kinds of pears and they are all 
astringent and therefore fit to put into repellent 
poultices. A decoction of the dried ones (or if they are 
taken raw) stops discharges of the intestines, but if they 
are eaten they hurt those who eat them while fasting. 


169 


FRUIT TREES 


1-168. ACHRAS 


suggested: Pyrus communis var achras — Achras, Wild Pear 



chras is a kind of wild pear which takes long to ripen. 


L JLlt is more astringent than the pear, as a result it is 
good for the same purposes. The leaves of it are also 
astringent. Ash from the wood effectively helps those 
suffocated from eating mushrooms [antidote]. There are 
some who say that if anyone boils wild pears together 
with mushrooms they become harmless. 


1-169. MESPILON 


suggested: Pyrus chamaemespilus — Bastard Quince 
M espilus germanica, Pyrus germanica — Medlar Tree 

M espilus (which is called aronia by some) is a prickly 
tree similar in leaves to the oxyacantha, bearing a 
sweet fruit similar to a little apple with three stones 
within, from which it is also called tricoccos (as we should 
say, threefold seed-endowed). It is long in ripening and if 
eaten is astringent, good for the stomach, and therapeutic 
for the bowels. 


1-170. MESPILON ETERON 


suggested: M espilus azarolus, Crataegus azarolus 
— Azarole Tree, Neapolitan Medlar 

T here is another kind of mespilus growing in Italy also 
called epi metis or setanium. It is a tree similar to an 
apple tree even in the leaves for it is not smaller. This also 
has a round edible fruit with a broad navel, somewhat 
astringent and slow to ripen. 


170 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-171. LOTOS 


SUGGESTED: D iospyros lotus — False Lotier, Date Plum 
Zizyphus lotus, Rhamnus lotus — Jujube Tree, Lotus Tree, 
Wild Jujube, Lotus Jujube 
Zizyphus sativa, Zizyphus vulgaris, Zizyphus jujuba, 

R hamnus zizyphus — Jujube Tree, Zizyphus, Indian Jujube 

T he lotus tree has a stock of good growth and it bears 
fruit bigger than pepper — sweet, edible, good for 
the stomach, astringent in the bowels. A decoction of the 
scrapings or sawdust of the wood (taken as a drink or 
suppository) helps dysentery and women troubled with 
their menstrual discharges. It also dyes the hair yellow, 
and stops loose bowels. 

1-172. KRANIA 


SUGGESTED: Cornus mas,Cornus mascula — Cornelian Cherry, 
Cornel, Dogwood 

has wax-coloured fruit 


C ran US is a strong tree that bears fruit similar to the 
olive — somewhat long, green at first but when ripe 
it grows yellow or the colour of wax. 

It is edible and astringent, good for excessive 
discharges of the intestines and dysentery whether 
mixed with sapa [syruped new wine] or eaten with meat. 
They are preserved in a pickle like olives. The moisture 
from the green leaves is burnt and this is good rubbed on 
for lichen [skin disease with red pustules]. 

1-173. QUA 

suggested: Sorbum ovatum [Fuchs], Sorbus sativa [Bauhin], 
Sorbus domestica [Linnaeus], Pyrus sorbus — Service Tree 

U va which are a yellowish colour and not yet ripe, 
first cut apart and dried in the sun, are astringent for 
the bowels, ground up and eaten as a meal. It is eaten 
instead of polenta, and a decoction of them (taken as a 
drink) does the same. 


171 


FRUIT TREES 


1-174. KOKKUMELIA 


suggested: Coccymelum [Pliny], Prunus sativa [Fuchs], 
Prunus domestica [Linnaeus], Prunus divaricata — Prune Tree, 

Plum Tree 

Prunus sylvestris [Fuchs, Bauhin], 

Prunus silvaticus, Prunus spinosa [Linnaeus] 

— Wild Prune Tree 

C OCCymelia is a known tree whose fruit is edible and 
bad for the stomach, softening the bowels, especially 
fruit of those from Syria and those growing in Damascus. 
Dried, it is good for the stomach and therapeutic for the 
bowels. A decoction of the leaves (used or prepared in 
wine and gargled) stops the excessive discharge that falls 
on the uva [uvula], gingiva [gums] and tonsils. The fruit of 
wild plums dried when it is ripe does the same. Boiled 
with sapa [syruped new wine] it becomes better for the 
stomach and more astringent to the bowels. The gum of 
the plum tree closes open cuts and sores, and taken as a 
drink with wine breaks kidney stones. Rubbed on with 
vinegar it heals lichen [papular skin disease] on children. 

1-175. KOMAROS 

suggested: Comaron, Comarus [Latin], A rbutus andrachne, 

A rbutus unedo — Fruit of Arbute Tree, Strawberry Tree, 
Cane Apples 

C omarus is a tree similar to the cotoneae [1-160] fruit 
tree with a thin leaf, bearing fruit called memacyla, 
the size more or less of a prune, with no kernel. When 
ripe it is somewhat a yellowish or reddish colour, chaff. 
When eaten it is bad for the stomach and causes 
headaches. 


172 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


223 Primus fatiua* 

PfUuroenbaum. 



173 


FRUIT TREES 


H4* Perfi'^a*. 

Pfer firfoaum* 



174 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-176. AMUGDALE 


suggested: Prunus amygdalus var amara, A mygdalus amara 
— Bitter Almond 

Prunus amygdalus var dulcis, Prunus communis, 

A mygdalus communis — Sweet Almond 

RAW BITTER ALMOND SEED IS POISONOUS 

T he root of the bitter almond tree bruised and boiled 
takes away spots on the face caused by sunburn, as 
well as the almonds themselves, applied as a poultice. 
Applied to the forehead or temples with vinegar and 
rosaceum [1-53] they drive out the menstrual flow and 
help headaches. They are good with wine for epinyctides 
[pustules which appear at night], rotten ulcers, and 
shingles [herpes], and with honey for dog bites. Almonds 
if eaten take away pains and soften the bowels, cause 
sleep and are diuretic. They are good for bloody vomit 
taken with amyl [starch] and mint. They are good for 
inflamed kidneys and pneumonia taken as a drink with 
water or as a linctus [syrup] with resina terminthos [1-91]. 
Taken with passu m [raisin wine] they help those troubled 
with painful urination and urinary stones. They help 
diseased livers, coughs, and inflation of the colon, the 
amount of a nut of the avellana [hazel] taken in a linctus 
[syrup] with mil k and honey. They keep away 
drunkenness if five to seven of them are taken before 
indulging. It kill s foxes when they eat it with something 
else. The gum of the tree is astringent and heats, and is 
taken in drink as a remedy for bloody vomit. Rubbed on 
with vinegar it takes away impetigo [skin infection] on the 
surface of the skin. Taken in a drink with diluted wine it 
cures old coughs, and it is good taken in a drink with 
passu m [raisin wine] for those troubled with urinary 
stones. The sweet edible almond has a great deal less 
strength than the bitter, yet that also reduces symptoms 
and is diuretic. Green almonds eaten with their shells 
heal moistness of the stomach. 


175 


FRUIT TREES 


1-177. PISTAKIA 


suggested: Pistacia vera, Pistacia officinarum, 
Pistacia reticulata — Pistachio 


P istacia grow in Syria and are similar to pine nuts. 

They are good for the stomach chewed or else 
pounded into small pieces. Taken as a drink in wine they 
help those bitten by snakes. 



Juglans regia 


after FAGUET — 1892 


1-178. KARUA BASILIKA 

suggested: Juglans [Fuchs] Juglans regia [Linnaeus] 
— Walnut 

native to Persia, recommended by Pliny as a vermifuge [Loudon] 


C ary a basilika which some call persica are hard to digest 
when eaten, hurt the stomach, produce bile, breed 
headaches and are worthless for those who have a cough, 
but good to make one vomit if eaten while fasting. They 
are antidotes against poisons eaten before or after, or 
with figs and rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98]. Eaten in a great 
quantity they expel broadworms. They are laid on 
inflamed breasts, suppurations and dislocations with a 
little honey and rue. With onions and salt and honey they 
are good for those bitten by dogs or bitten by men. Burnt 
together with their calyx and applied to the navel they 
lessen griping. The putamen [seed vessels - woody part] 
burnt and pounded in oil and wine and rubbed on the 
heads of children is good to make the hair pleasing and 
fills up alopecia [baldness]. The kernel within is burnt, 
pounded into small pieces, and applied with wine to stop 
the menstrual flow. The kernels of old caryae chewed and 
then applied as a poultice cure gangrene, carbuncles 
[infected boils] [malignant skin tumours], aegilopses [ulcer 
or fistula in the inner angle of the eye] and alopecias 
[baldness] out of hand. An oil is made of them bruised 
and pressed out. The green [or new ones] are sweeter and 
less hurtful to the stomach. As a result they are mixed 
with garlic to take away the tartness of it. They take away 
black and blue spots when applied. 


176 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-179. KARUA PONTIKA 


suggested: A vellana domestica, A vellana-nux sylvestris, Corylus 
[Fuchs], Corylus sativa, Corylus sylvestris [Bauhin], 
Corylus maxima [in Sprague], N ux avellana, Corylus avellana 
[Linnaeus], N ux pontica [Loudon] — Common Hazel 

C ary a Pontica (also called leptocarya [small carya ]) are 
worthless for the stomach, yet pounded into small 
pieces and taken as a drink with honey and water they 
cure old coughs. Roasted and eaten with a little pepper 
they digest dripping fluids; and burnt whole, pounded 
into small pieces with goose grease or bear grease, and 
rubbed on they restore hair that has fallen out from 
alopecia [baldness]. Some say that the shells burnt and 
pounded into small pieces together with oil make the 
pupils of gray-eyed children black if the forepart of the 
head is moistened with it. 


1-180. MOREA 


SUGGESTED: M orus nigra — Mulberry 
M orinda umbellata, M orus indica — Indian Mulberry 
[other usage] M orea sisrinchium [Loudon] — Spanish Nut 

M orus or sycaminus is a well-known tree. Its fruit 
makes the intestines soluble. It is easily spoiled 
and bad for the stomach and the juice is the same. Boiled 
in a brass jar or left in the sun it is made more astringent. 
A little honey mixed with it makes it good for the 
discharge of fluids, for gangrenous ulceration of the 
cheeks, and for inflamed tonsils. The strength of it is 
increased if alumen [5-123] in small pieces, galls [oak], 
myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] and crocus are mixed with it as 
well as the fruit of myrica [1-116], iris and frankincense. 
Unripe mulberries dried and pounded are mixed with 
sauces or rhus [1-147] and they help coeliac [intestinal 
complaints]. The bark from the root boiled in water and 
taken as a drink loosens the bowels, expels broadworms 
from the intestines, and is an antidote for those who have 
taken aconitum [4-77, 4-78] as a drink. The leaves pounded 
into small pieces and applied with oil heal burns. Boiled 
with rain water, wine and black fig leaves they dye the 
hair. A wine cupful of juice from the leaves (taken as a 



M orus nigra 
after FAGUET — 1880 



M orus alba 

after FAGUET — 1880 


177 


FRUIT TREES 


drink) helps those bitten by harvest spiders. A decoction 
of the bark and leaves is a good rinse for toothache. It is 
milked at harvest time, the roots dug around and cut-in. 
The next day there will be found some coalesced gum 
which is good for toothache, dissolves swellings, and 
purges the bowels. There seem to be some wild 
mulberries similar to (the fruit) of the bramble but more 
astringent, the juice is less spoiled and good in warm 
packs for inflammation, healing ulcerated jaws, and to fill 
up wounds with flesh. They grow in shady and cold 
places. 


1-181. SUKOMORON 

suggested: Sycomorus antiquorum, Ficus sycomorus 
— Sycamore Fig, Sycamore, Mulberry Fig 
[other usage] Sycamore [old English], A cer pseudoplatan us 
— Maple, Bastard Sycamore, Sycamore Maple, Mock Plane 

Sycamine — old English for Mulberry [see above] 


S ycomorum is also called sycaminum and the fruit is 
called sycomorum because of the faintness of its taste. 
It is a great tree similar to a fig tree — very full of juice, the 
leaves similar to the mulberry tree. It bears fruit twice or 
four times a year, not from the highest (boughs) as on the 
fig tree, but from the stock, similar to the wild fig — 
sweeter than green figs but without grains, and not 
growing ripe unless it is scratched with a nail or with 
iron. It grows abundantly in Caria and Rhodes and places 
not very fertile for wheat. It helps in time of scarcity of 
corn [famine] by continually bearing fruit. The fruit is 
good for the bowels, yields little nourishment, and is bad 
for the stomach. The tree is milked at the beginning of 
spring before it brings forth fruit, the outside of the bark 
being broken with a stone, for if it is broken deeper in it 
sends nothing forth. The oozing from it is gathered in a 
sponge or fleece, then dried, formed (into little balls), and 
stored in newly-made jars. This juice is softening, closes 
open cuts and sores from wounds, and dissolves growths 
that ripen with difficulty. It is taken in a drink and also 
rubbed on against the bites of snakes, spleens that have 
grown hard, pains, and a cold stomach. This juice is 
quickly spoiled with worms. 


178 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-182. SUKON EN KUPRO 


UNKNOWN 

A tree grows in Cyprus that differs from these. It is an 
elm [?ash] yet it has leaves similar to sycamine [ 1-180] 
and fruit the size of prunes and sweeter. In all other 
things it is similar to those mentioned above. 

1-183. SUKA 


suggested: Ficus sativa [Fuchs], Ficus communis [Bauhin], 
Ficus carica [Linnaeus] — Fig 

R ipe new syca are bad for the stomach and loosen the 
intestines but the looseness that comes from them is 
easily stopped. They bring out pimples and sweat, 
quench thirst, and extinguish heat. The dried ones are 
nourishing and warming, cause thirst, and are good for 
the bowels. They are useless for discharges of the 
stomach and intestines, but good for the throat, arteries, 
bladder and kidneys, those who have a poor colour from 
a long illness, as well as asthma, epilepsy and dropsy. 
Boiled with hyssop [3-30] and taken as a drink they clean 
away things in the chest. They are good for old coughs 
and long-lasting disorders of the lungs; and pounded 
together with saltpetre [potassium nitrate] and cnicus 
[4-119, 4-190] and eaten, they soften the bowels. A 
decoction of them is good for inflammation around the 
arteries and tonsils, used in a gargle. They are mixed in 
poultices with barley meal, fenugreek or barley water for 
women's warm packs. Boiled with rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98] 
they are a suppository for griping. Boiled and afterwards 
pounded into small pieces and applied, they dissolve 
hard lumps and soften parotid tumours, boils and 
inflammatory tumours. They ripen pan n US [opaque 
thickening of cornea with veins] more effectively with 
iris, saltpetre [potassium nitrate] or quicklime [calcium 
oxide — lime which has been burned but not yet slaked 
with water]. Pounded raw with the things previously 
specified they do the same. With pomegranate rind they 
clean away pterygium [membrane on the eye], and with 
calcanthum [limestone] they cure difficult, curable and 
malignant discharges in the tibiae [hollow bones, marrow. 


179 


FRUIT TREES 


not only the tibia]. Boiled in wine and mixed with 
wormwood [3-26] and barley meal they are good for 
dropsy applied as a poultice. Burnt and put into a wax 
ointment they cure chilblains. The raw ones pounded 
into small pieces mixed with moist mustard and put into 
the ears, cure noises and ringing in them. The (milky) 
juice of both the wild and cultivated figs coagulates milk 
like rennet, and dissolves coagulated milk like vinegar. 
Taken as a drink with almonds that have been pounded 
into small pieces it is able to make bodies break out into 
boils, to open pores, loosen the bowels and relax the 
womb. It expels the menstrual flow applied with the yolk 
of an egg or Tyrrhenian [Etruscan] wax. It is good put 
into poultices made for gout together with fenugreek 
flowers and vinegar. With polenta it cleans leprosy, lichen 
[papular skin disease], spots made by the heat of the sun, 
vitiligines [form of leprosy], parasitical skin diseases, and 
running sores on the head. Dropped on the sores it helps 
those stung by scorpions, and strikes of poisonous beasts, 
and those bitten by dogs. Taken on wool and put into the 
cavities of teeth it helps toothache. It takes away 
formicosam [anthill-shaped] warts if it is rubbed on the 
flesh with animal fat. 

1-184. SUKE AGRIA 


suggested: Ficus carica var sylvestris — Wild Fig Tree 
Ficus variegata, Ficus amboinensis, Ficus racemosa, 
Caprificus amboinensis— Getah Fig Tree, Wild Fig 

T he juice of the tender leaves of the wild syca tree does 
the same things. When they are great with child (not 
yet fruiting) and the eye (bud) has not put out, they are 
pounded and pressed out, and the juice is dried in the 
shade and stored. Both the liquid and juice are taken for 
the strength they have to raise [fill] ulcers. The sprigs of 
this tree boiled with beef makes it boil quicker. They 
make milk more loosening if they are used to stir it with 
during boiling instead of a spatha [1-150]. 


180 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1-185. OLUNTHOI 


SUGGESTED: Ficus carica — Unripe Figs 

O lyntha (some of which are called erinei) boiled and 
applied as a poultice soften all nodules, scrofulous 
tumours [glandular swelling] and goitres. Applied raw 
with saltpetre [potassium nitrate] and meal they take 
away formicosam [anthill-shaped] warts and warty 
abnormal growths. The leaves can do the same. Applied 
as a poultice with vinegar and salt they heal running 
ulcers on the head, dandruff and epinycti [pustules which 
appear only at night]. Fig-like scabrous cheeks are rubbed 
with these. Vitiliginous [form of leprosy] white areas are 
plastered with the leaves or branches of the black fig. 
They are good also with honey for the bites of dogs, and 
the ulcers called favi by the Latins but by the Greeks ceria 
[honeycombed ulcers]. Grossi [unripe figs] with the 
leaves of wild poppy draw out (broken) bones, and they 
dissolve boils [inflammatory tumours] with wax. Applied 
with ervum [2-129, 2-131] and wine they are good against 
the bites of rodents, spiders, centipedes and millipedes. 

1-186. KONIA SUKES 


SUGGESTED: Ficus carica var sylvestris — Wild Fig Tree 
Ficus variegata, Ficus amboinensis, Ficus racemosa, 

C apri ficus amboinensis — Getah Fig Tree, Wild Fig 
Ficus carica — Fig 

L ye is made from ashes of the burnt branches of the 
wild and cultivated syca trees. You must steep the 
ashes long and often. It is good both for caustic medicines 
and gangrenous parts, for it cleans and removes things 
which are superfluous. It must be used by moistening a 
sponge in it often and immediately applying it. Give it to 
some as a suppository for dysentery, old discharges, and 
hollow, undermining, great ulcers. For it cleans, heals, 
covers in flesh and closes together, similar to plasters 
made for bloody wounds. It is given for clotting blood 
together and against dripping fluids, hernia and 
convulsions, newly strained-out with a wine cupful of 
water and a little oil mixed in. By itself it helps coetiac 
[intestinal] complaints and dysentery, the amount of a 


181 


FRUIT TREES 


wine cupful given. It is a convenient ointment with oil for 
those troubled with sores of the tendons, and 
convulsions that cause sweats. It is taken as an antidote in 
a drink for those who have swallowed gypsum [hydrous 
calcium sulphate — plaster of Paris] and for the bites of 
harvest spiders. The other sorts of lye have the same 
effects (especially that of the oak) and they are all 
astringent. 


1-187. PERSEA 


suggested: Persea, M imusops schimperi 
— Egyptian Lebekbaum [Bedevian] 

P ersea is a tree which grows in Egypt, especially in 
Thebes. It bears fruit fit to eat and good for the 
stomach, on which the spiders called cranocolopta are 
found. The dry leaves pounded into small pieces and 
applied are able to stop blood breaking out. Some have 
reported that this tree when it grew in Persis was deadly, 
but when transported into Egypt it was altered and 
became good to eat. 

1-188. IBERIS 


suggested: N asturtium agreste [Fuchs], H iberis [Brunfels], 

N asturtium pratense [Bauhin], Cardaminepraetensis [Linnaeus] 
C ardamineamara — Bitter Cress, Large Bitter Cress 
[other usage] Candytuft — Iberis numidica 
Clown Mustard, Bitter Candytuft — Iberis amara 

I beris or cardamantica has leaves similar to nasturtium 
[2-185], more flourishing in the spring, the length of it 
as much as a foot or somewhat smaller. It grows in 
unfilled places. In the summer it puts out a milky flower 
and then it is more effective. It has two roots similar to 
nasturtium — warming and caustic. They are good for 
those diseased with sci ati ca if a poultice similar to a plaster 
is made of it with salted lard of a sow (and so applied and 
let lie) for four hours. Afterward let the patient be put into 
a bath and rubbed on the places affected with oil and 
wine dipped in wool. 


182 




THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


BOOK TWO 


I n the first book, most loving Areius, that we made of 
medicinal matters we have discoursed of aromata 
[fragrant herbs], oils, ointments, trees and the liquors and 
gum and fruits that come of them. But in this being the 
second book we shall come to discussion both of living 
creatures and of honey and of milk and of animal fat and 
of those things which they call frumentacea [cereals], as 
well as pot herbs [vegetables], annexing for those such 
herbs as are endowed with a sharp quality because such 
are near of kin, as are garlic and onions and mustard seed, 
that the qualities of those things so similar in nature 
should not be separated. 



H af/x pomatia & other Pulmonata 
after FERUSSAC — 1875 


183 


LIVING CREATURES 


LIVING CREATURES 

2-1. ECHINOS THALASSIOS 


Echinus species — Sea Urchin 

E chinus from the sea is good for the stomach, good for 
the intestines, and diuretic. The raw shell roasted 
well should be mixed with washing medications made 
for psoriasis. Burnt, it cleans foul ulcers and represses 
abnormal growths on the flesh. 

2-2. ECHINOS CHERSAIOS 


Erinaceous genus — Hedgehog 



T he burnt skin of the earth hedgehog is good for 
alopecia [baldness] rubbed on with moist pitch. The 
dried flesh (taken in a drink with honey or vinegar and 
honey) helps inflamed kidneys, water under the skin 
[dropsy], and those who have convulsions, elephantiasis, 
or cachexy [defective nutrition]. It dries up discharges 
from the bowels and liver. Dried in a sun-dried clay jar, 
and stored, then given, it does as much good for the same 
things. 


2-3. HIPPOKAMPOS 

Hippocampus [Latin] — Sea Horse 

H ippocampus is a little living creature of the sea that is 
burnt and the ashes used either in goose grease, 
liquid pitch, or ointment amaracinum [1-68]. Rubbed on 
it fills up alopecia [baldness] with hair. 


Sea Horse — H ippocampus 
from DAVIS — 1907 


2-4. PORPHURA 


suggested: Purpura 


Shellfish - yields Tyrian purple dye. 


B urnt purpura dry and clean teeth, repress excrescent 
flesh, and draw boils and heal them. 


184 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-5. KUREKES 


SUGGESTED: Buccinum species — Whelks 

B urnt buccina do the same as the above but they are 
more caustic by nature. If anyone fills them with salt 
and burns them in an unfired clay jar they are good as 
toothpastes and rubbed on burns. The medicine must be 
left alone until it grows hard like a shell, for after the burn 
is healed it falls off of its own accord. Quicklime is made 
of them as we will show when we come to discuss calx. 

2-6. IONIA 


suggested: The columellae of Buccinae [Whelks] and Purpurae 

I onia are the middle parts in the buccinae and purpurae 
around which they turn in or wind around. It is burnt 
in the same way, but is more caustic than the buccinae and 
pi/ rpurae because by nature they adhere less. The flesh of 
the buccina has a good taste and is good for the stomach, 
but does not soften the bowels. 

2-7. MUAKES 

SUGGESTED: M ytilacea species — Mussels 

T he Pontic mytuli are best. When burnt their effect is 
similar to the buccina but more peculiar. Washed like 
lead they are good with honey for eye medicines as they 
consume thickened areas, and clean away white spots on 
the cornea and whatever else darkens the pupils. Their 
flesh is effective applied to one bitten by a dog. 

2-8. TELLINAI 

SUGGESTED: T etlina, family T ellinidae — Tellen, bivalves 

T ellinae whilst they are fresh and new are good for the 
bowels, especially their broth. Seasoned with salt, 
burnt, pounded into small pieces and dropped on with 
cedria [1-105], they do not allow hairs on the eyelids to 
spring up again after they are once plucked out. 


185 


LIVING CREATURES 


2-9. CHAMAI 


SUGGESTED: C hamae species — Chama, bivalve molluscs 

T he broth of chamae and other shellfish boiled in a little 
water stirs the bowels. It is taken with wine. 

2-10. ONUX 

suggested: U nionaceae, 0 nycha — Freshwater Mussels 

O nyx (or unguis ) is the covering of a shellfish similar 
to that of the purpura [shellfish] found in India in 
the n ar c/t/S-bearing lakes. As a result it smells sweet — the 
shellfish feeding on the nardus. It is gathered after the 
lakes are dried up by extreme drought. The best is 
brought from the Red Sea. It is somewhat white and fat. 
The Babylonian is black and smaller. Both of them (put 
on coals) have a sweet smell somewhat resembling castor 
[2-26] in scent. The inhaled smoke restores women 
troubled with constrictions of the uterus, and those who 
have falling sickness. Taken as a drink they trouble the 
bowels. The burnt shellfish itself does the same things as 
purpura and buccinum [above]. 

2-11. KOCHLIAS 

suggested: H elix aspersa, H elix hortensis — Garden Snails 
H elix pomatia — Snails, edible species 

T he earth snail is good for the stomach and spoiled 
with difficulty. The best are in Sardinia, Africa, 
Astypalaea, Sicily and Chios, as well as those in the Alps 
near Liguria, surnamed pomatias (because of their 
covering). The sea snail is also good for the stomach and 
is easily transient, but the river snail is poisonous. The 
field snail (called sesilon or sesdita) that hangs on bushes 
and shrubs troubles or disturbs the intestines and 
stomach causing vomiting. The burnt shells of all of them 
are able to heat and burn, and clean leprosy, vitiligines 
[form of leprosy] and the teeth. Burnt whole with their 
flesh, pounded into small pieces, and rubbed on with 
honey they take away scars in the eyes, white spots on 
the cornea, sunspots, and moisture of the sight. Applied 


186 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


raw with their shells they dry up dropsy tumours and do 
not fall off until all the moisture is exhausted. They 
soothe gouty inflammation and draw out thorns applied 
in a similar way. Pounded into small pieces and so 
applied they expel the menstrual flow. Their flesh 
pounded into small pieces and applied as a poultice with 
myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] and frankincense heals wounds, 
especially those around the tendons. Pounded into small 
pieces with vinegar, they stop bleeding from the nostrils. 
The live flesh (especially of the African snail), eaten, 
pacifies pains of the stomach. Taken whole with the shell 
and a little of it taken with a drink of wine and myrrh, it 
cures those troubled with colic and pains of the bladder. 
The earth-snail heals falling hair if one thrusts a needle 
through the flesh of the snail and touches the hair with 
the slimy matter that comes from there. 

2-12. KARKINOI 

suggested: Cancer pagurus [Brachyura] — Crabs 

T wo spoonfuls of ashes of burnt crevises or river crabs 
with one spoonful of the root of gentian (taken as a 
drink in wine for three days together) evidently helps 
one bitten by a mad dog. With boiled honey they soothe 
cracks in the feet and perineum, as well as chilblains and 
diseases of the cornea. Pounded raw and taken as a drink 
with an ass's milk they help snakebites, and the strikes of 
harvest spiders and scorpions. Boiled and eaten with 
their broth they are good for those in consumption 
[wasting disease], and those who have swallowed a sea 
hare [2-20]. Pounded together with basil and laid out for 
scorpions, they kill them. Sea crabs can do the same 
things but they work somewhat less effectively than 
these. 


2-13. SKORPIOS CHERSAIOS 


Scorpionidae — Scorpion 

T he ground scorpion — taken raw, pounded into 
small pieces, and so applied — is a remedy for the 
hurt done by it. It is also roasted for the same purpose. 


187 


LIVING CREATURES 


2-14. SKORPIOS THALASSIOS 

suggested: Scorpaena, Scorpaenidae— Scorpion Fish 
C ottus scorpius — Sculpin 

T he gall of the sea scorpion is good for bathing eyes, 
white spots on the cornea, and excessive moisture in 
the eyes. 

2-15. DRAKON THALASSIOS 

SUGGESTED: T rachinidae — Spiny-finned fishes, Weevers 

T he sea dragon (opened and applied) is a cure for the 
hurt done by his prickles. 

2-16. SKOLOPENDRA 

suggested: M yriapoda, Cheilopoda — Sea Centipedes, 
Millepedes 

T he sea SCOlopendra boiled in oil and rubbed on 
removes hair [depilatory], but when touched it 
breeds itching. 


2-17. NARKE 

suggested: Torpedinidae — Electric Ray 

T he sea torpedo applied to sores of long endurance 
around the head lessens the fierceness of the 
suffering. The same applied lifts up a perineum that has 
either overturned or else fallen down. 

2-18. ECHIDNE 


Vipera communis, Coluber berus, Pelias berus — Viper 

T he flesh of the viper (boiled and eaten) makes the 
eyes quick-sighted and is also good for disorders of 
the nerves. It represses enlarging scrofulous tumours 
[glandular swelling, goitres]. You must (when you strip 
it) cut off the head and the tail because they are without 


188 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


flesh. Cutting off the extreme parts by a certain measure 
is but a tale. Then, the intestines having been taken out, 
wash that which is left and cut it in pieces. Boil it with oil 
and wine and a little salt and dill. Some say that from 
feeding on them lice are bred in those who eat them but it 
is a lie. Some again say that those who eat them are long- 
lived. Salts are made of them for the same uses, but they 
do not work as well. The living viper is put into a new pot, 
and with it a pint of salt and [the same of] well-pounded 
dry figs with six cups of honey. The cover of the pot is 
tightly corked with clay and it is baked in an oven until 
the salt has turned to coals. After this it is pounded into 
small pieces and stored. Sometimes it may agree better 
with the stomach if some spikenard [1-6, 1-7, 1-8, 1-10] or 
phullon [3-140] or a little malabathrum [1-11] is mixed in. 

2-19. OPHEOS GERAS 


Senecta anguium — Sloughed Skin of Snakes 

T he senecta anguium (which is the skin that the snake 
casts in the spring time) boiled in wine is a remedy 
for pain in the ears if it is poured into them, and for 
toothache used as a mouth rinse. They mix it (especially 
that of the sea viper) with eye medicines. 


2-20. LAGOOS THALASSIOS 


A ply si a depilans — Sea Hare 

T he sea hare is similar to the little cuttlefish. Pounded 
into small pieces and applied (either by itself or with 
sea nettles) it makes any place without hair [depilatory], 

2-21. LAGOOS CHERSAIOS 



A ply si a depilans — Sea Hare 

from Davis — 1907 




Lepustimidus — Hare 

T he brain of a land hare (eaten roasted) is good for the 
trembling that comes from fear, as well as rubbed on 
or eaten for teething in children. The head burnt and 
rubbed on with bears' grease or vinegar cures baldness. 
The curds (taken in a drink three days after the menstrual 


189 


LIVING CREATURES 


flow) are reported to cause sterility. Likewise it stops 
excessive discharges of the womb and bowels. It helps 
those with falling sickness, and taken as a drink with 
vinegar it is good against poisons [antidote], especially 
for curdling of the milk [while breastfeeding], and for the 
bites of vipers. The blood rubbed on while warm cures 
sunspots, vitiligines [form of leprosy], and freckles. 

2-22. TRUGON THALASSIA 

suggested: Trigonidae pastinaca — Sting Ray 

T he radius of the pastinaca marina that grows out of its 
tail (with scales turned backward) lessens a pained 
tooth for it breaks and expels it. 

2-23. SEPIA 

suggested: Sepia officinalis — Cuttlefish 

T he black (ink) of the boiled sepia is hard to digest 
when eaten and it softens the bowels. The shell 
formed into washes is good to rub on rough cheeks. 
Burnt in its own shell until the crusty matter is gone and 
afterwards pounded into small pieces it cleans vitiligines 
[form of leprosy], dandruff, teeth and sunspots. It is 
washed and mixed with eye medicines. It is good for 
white spots on the cornea (in the eyes) of cattle 
[veterinary] blown into them. It removes pterygium 
[membranes on eyes] pounded into small pieces with salt 
and applied. 


2-24. TRIGLA 


suggested: M ullidae, M ullus barbatus — Red Mullet 

T he mullus if often eaten is thought to cause dullness 
of sight, but cut apart whilst it is raw and applied it 
heals the hurt caused by the sea dragon [2-15], scorpion, 
and the spider. 


190 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Hedgehog - Echinus species 
after DAVIS — 1907 


191 


LIVING CREATURES 



Sepia officinalis 
after OWEN — 1909 


192 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-25. ORCHIS HIPPOPOTAMOU 


H ippopotamus amphibious — Hippopotamus 

T he stones [testicles] of the hippopotamus are dried 
and pounded into small pieces and taken in a drink 
in wine against snakebite. 

2-26. KASTOROS ORCHIS 


Castoreum — Beaver 

obtained from two sacs in the groin of the Beaver 


T he beaver is a living creature with a double nature 
nourished for the most part in the waters with the 
fishes and crabs. Its stones [testicles] are good against the 
poisons of snakes. They cause sneezing and are generally 
effective for many purposes. Two teaspoonfuls (taken as 
a drink with pulegium [3-36]) encourage the menstrual 
flow, put out the afterbirth, and are an abortifacient. It is 
taken as a drink with vinegar against gaseousness, 
griping, hiccups, deadly poisons [antidote] and ixia 
[3-103]. Moistened with vinegar and rosaceum [1-53] it 
revives the lethargic or those brought low in any way. It 
does the same when smelled or inhaled as smoke. It is 
good taken either as a drink or rubbed on for trembling, 
convulsions, and all diseases of the nerves. Generally it is 
warming. Always choose those stones [testicles] which 
are connected together from one beginning (for it is 
impossible to find two follicles [small glands] knit 
together in one membrane); always distinguished by 
their natural loose skins; and that have waxy stuff within, 
with a strong smell, poisonous, sharp, biting in taste, 
easily crumbled. Some adulterate it by pouring 
ammoniacum or gum tempered with blood and castoreum 
into the follicle and drying it. It is not true that this beast 
when it is pursued bites off his stones [testicles] and 
throws them away, for it is impossible that he should 
touch them as they are joined underneath like those of a 
boar. Those who take off the skin must take the liquid in 
there which looks similar to honey together with the 
loose skin that contains it, dry it, then bottle and store it. 


193 


LIVING CREATURES 


2-27. GALE KATOIKIDIOS 


Pu tori us nivalis, M usteiidae— Weasel 

T he household weasel is burned over flames after the 
bowels are taken out, salted, and afterwards dried in 
the shade and kept a long time. It is a very effective 
remedy (taken as a drink of two teaspoonfuls in wine) 
against all kinds of snakes. It is taken the same way as an 
antidote to poisoning. The belly of the weasel is stuffed 
with coriander and kept until it is old, then taken in a 
drink to help those bitten by poisonous beasts, and the 
epileptic. It is burnt complete together in a pot and the 
ashes rubbed on with vinegar for gout. The blood rubbed 
on helps scrofulous tumours [glandular swelling, 
goitres]. It is also good for epilepsy. 

2-28. BATRACHOI 


genus R ana, family R anidae — Frogs 

F rogs are antidotes against the poisons of all snakes. 

They are boiled into a broth in salt and oil. The broth 
is then taken for this and for old abscesses of the tendons. 
Burnt and then put on they staunch bleeding. They cure 
alopecia [baldness] rubbed on with liquid pitch. The blood 
of green frogs dropped on prevents the hair from ever 
growing again once it has been pulled from the 
eyebrows. They are good for toothache boiled together 
with water and vinegar, and for the teeth when they are 
washed with it. 


2-29. AILOUROS 


suggested: Silurus glanis, Siiuridae— Sheath Fish 

T he silurus eaten whilst it is fresh is nourishing and 
good for the stomach, but salted it yields no 
nourishment; yet it cleans the arteries and makes the 
voice clear. The flesh of that which is salted draws out 
splinters. Brine from it is good in baths for dysentery at 
the first sign, drawing the discharges to the outside. 
Taken as a suppository it cures sciatica. 


194 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-30. SMARIS 

suggested: Osmerus eparlanus — Smelt 

T he head of a salted smaris burnt stops abnormal 
growths of (protuberant) flesh, stops gangrenous 
ulceration; and removes corns and warty abnormal 
growths. The flesh of this as well as all salted meat is good 
for one touched by a scorpion, and for one bitten by a 
dog. 


2-31. MAINIS 

SUGGESTED: M aen a 

small sea-fish, eaten by the poor 


T he burnt head of the moena (pounded into small 
pieces and sprinkled on) mends hard-skinned 
fissures in the perineum; and its garum [Roman sauce 
made of fermented fish] rolled up and down around the 
mouth lessens rotten ulcers in there. 

2-32. KOBIOS 

SUGGESTED: Gobiidae, Gobi us species — Sea Gudgeon 

P lace a freshly caught sea gudgeon in a swine's 
stomach and sew it up. Boil it with twelve pints of 
water until it is reduced to two pints and then strain and 
cool it in the open air. If you give it to someone to drink 
you shall in this way bring down his bowels without any 
disturbance. Applied it helps those bitten by dogs or 
snakes. 


2-33. OMOTARICHOS 


suggested: 0 rcynus thynus — Tunny 

O motarichos is the flesh of the salted tunny. Those 
bitten by the viper called prester (a serpent, the bite 
of which was fabled to cause death by swelling) take this. 
Those who eat it must be compelled to drink a great 


195 


LIVING CREATURES 


amount of wine and then to vomit. It is excellent for the 
same purposes as eating sharp meats. It is also effective 
applied to the bites of dogs. 

2-34. GARRON 


SUGGESTED: Garum— Liquid from Salt Fish 

G arum (the liquid that comes out of salted flesh or 
fish), applied, represses gangrenous ulcers in the 
cheeks, heals those bitten by dogs, and is sometimes 
given as a suppository for dysentery and sciatica. It is 
given to some so that it may repress ulcers (of the 
bowels), to others that it may encourage ulceration of the 
parts not ulcerated, and to remove fluids troubling the 
hips. 


2-35. ZOMOS NEARON ICHTHUON 


SUGGESTED: Fish Soup 

B roth made from fresh fish (alone or taken as a drink 
with wine) is able to soothe the bowels. The best 
broth for this is made from the fish called phycides ?, 
scorpion fish, j ill ides, perch and other tender rock fish, 
and those which do not have a poisonous nature, boiled 
with nothing else but water and oil and anise [3-65] and 
salt. 


2-36. KOREIS 

Cimices — Cimex lectularius, Cimex rotandatus — Bed Bugs 

S even cimices taken and put in meat with beans and 
swallowed down before a fit help those with quartains 
[fever with paroxysm every three to four days]. 
Swallowed down without beans they help one bitten by 
an asp. Smelled, they revive those fallen into a faint from 
constriction of the vulva. Taken as a drink with wine or 
vinegar they release horseleeches. Pounded into small 
pieces and put into the urethra they cure painful 
urination. 


196 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-37. KOUBARIDES 

Oniscus asellus — Common Woodlouse 

'Millipede' [old English] 


M illipedes that are found under water vessels are 
creatures with many feet that roll themselves up 
round when they are touched with the hand. Taken as a 
drink with wine these help painful urination and yellow 
jaundice. Rubbed on with honey they help those with 
tonsillitis, and warmed in a pomegranate rind with 
rosaceum [1-53] and dropped in the ears they are good for 
earaches. 


2-38. SILPHE 

Cockroach — Blatta oriental is 

THESE INSECTS ARE CARRIERS OF MANY DISEASES. 

T he inner parts of the kind of blatta which is found in 
bakehouses and m i ll houses, pounded with oil or 
boiled and dropped into the ears lessens their pain. 

2-39. PNEUMON THALASSIOS 

suggested: Scopelidae, genus Plagyodus or A lepisaurus 
— Jellyfish family 

translates as the lungs of the sea 


P ulmo marinus pounded into small pieces (whilst it is 
fresh), and applied, helps those troubled with 
ulcerated chilblains and other chilblains, and those with 
gout. 


2-40. PNEUMON CHOIRIOS 


Lungs of Swine, Lamb or Bear 

T he lungs of a swine, lamb or bear applied to chafing 
and blisters on the feet made by rubbing shoes 
prevents inflammation. 


197 


LIVING CREATURES 


2-41. PNEUMON ALOPEKOS 


Lungs of Fox 

L ungs of a fox (dried and taken in a drink) help the 
asthmatic; and the grease of the same melted and 
poured in the ears lessens earache. 

2-42. HEPAR ONEIRON 


Ass's Liver 

A n ass's liver eaten roasted is good for epilepsy but it 
should be taken while fasting. 

2-43. AIDOION ARRENOS ELAPHOU 


Testes of Deer 

T he genitals of a male hart (pounded into small pieces 
and taken in a drink with wine) help those bitten by 
vipers. 


2-44. ONUCHES ONON 


Ass's Hooves 

T wo spoonfuls of an ass's hoof that has been burnt 
(taken in a drink daily for many days) are said to cure 
epilepsy. Steeped in oil they dissolve scrofulous tumours 
[glandular swelling, goitres]; sprinkled on they heal 
chilblains. 

2-45. LEICHENES HIPPON 


Spavins of Horses 

T he lichen [bony excrescence on legs] of horses is 
(according to description) that hardened substance 
which grows at their knees and hooves. Pounded into 
small pieces and taken in a drink with vinegar they are 
said to cure epilepsy. 


198 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-46. ONUCHES AIGON 

Goats' Hooves 

T he hooves of goats burnt and rubbed on with vinegar 
cure baldness. 

2-47. HEPAR AIGOS 


Goat's Liver 

T he watery fluid that drips from the liver of a goat 
whilst it is a roasting is good rubbed on for those 
troubled with night blindness. If anyone receives the 
smoke of it with open eyes whil s t it is boiling he receives 
benefit from this. Eaten roasted it is good for the same 
purpose. They say that epilepsy may be discerned by 
eating the liver (especially) of the buck goat. 

2-48. HEPAR KAPROU 


Boar's Liver 

T he liver of a boar (taken whilst it is) fresh, dried and 
pounded into small pieces and taken as a drink with 
wine, is a remedy against the bites of snakes and beasts. 

2-49. HEPAR KUNOS LUSSONTOS 


Liver of Mad Dog 

RABIES IS HIGHLY COMMUNICABLE 

T he liver of a mad dog (eaten roasted by those which 
have been bitten by him) is thought to keep them 
safe from the fear of water. As a precaution they also use 
the tooth of that dog which bit, place it into a bag and tie it 
to the arm. 


199 


LIVING CREATURES 


2-50. HEPAR AITHUAS 


Liver of Seagull 

T wo spoonfuls of dried liver of mergus [seagull] (taken 
as a drink with honey water) expels the afterbirth. 

2-51. KATTUMATA 


Old Leather 

T he old leather of old soles of shoes (burnt, pounded 
to powder and applied) helps burns, skin 
inflammation from rubbing, chafing, and blisters caused 
by wearing shoes. 


2-52. ALEKTORIDES 


Parts of Poultry 

H ens cut apart and applied whilst they are yet warm 
help the bites of snakes, but they must be changed 

often. 

2-53. ENKEPHALOS ALEKTORIDOS 


Parts of Poultry 

B rains of poultry are given in a drink with wine to 
those bitten by venomous creatures, and it also stops 
discharges of blood from the meninx [membranes of the 
brain and spinal cord]. The membrane of cocks which lies 
in the inner part under the ventricle, (hard and clear) like 
a horn, and which has to have the skin taken off when it 
is boiled, is good for the stomach, dried, pounded to a 
powder and taken in a drink with wine. The broth of a 
chicken dressed simply (without anything else) is 
particularly given for restraining foul fluids, and for 
those who have hot burning stomachs. Broth from old 
cocks is given for purging the body. Having taken out the 
intestine [of the fowl] you must put in salt instead, sew 
up the fowl, and boil it in twenty pints of water until they 
reduce to one and a half pints, all which must be given 


200 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


after it has stood cooling awhile in the open air. There are 
some who boil sea colewort, mercury [4-191], cnicum 
[4-119, 4-190], or polypody [4-188] together with it. It draws 
out thick, raw, gluey (or sticky) black (fluids). It is good 
for long-enduring acute fevers, the asthmatic, the 
arthritic, and stomachs labouring with gas. The stomach 
of fowls salted and dried in the shade is the best help. 
Three teaspoonfuls are taken as an antidote against 
excessive evacuations from purging medicines as it 
presently stops the evacuating, but it must be pounded 
into powder and mixed with water and given like that. 

2-54. OON 

Eggs and their Yolk 

A soft-cooked egg nourishes more than an uncooked 
one and a hard-cooked egg more than a soft. The 
yolk roasted with saffron and rosaceum [1-53] is good for 
sores in the eyes. It is good with met Hot [3-48] for 
inflammation around the perineum and the joints. Fried 
in a pan with the seed of sumach or galls [oak galls] and 
eaten (or else given alone) it stops discharges of the 
bowels. 


2-55. LEUKON TOU OOU 


White of Egg 

T he white of an egg used raw cools and closes the 
pores of the skin, and when dropped on inflamed 
eyes it soothes them. Rubbed on afterwards it prevents 
burns from breaking out into pustules. It protects the face 
from sunburn. It constipates those troubled with 
discharges, and will repress them when laid on the 
forehead with frankincense. It lessens inflammation of 
the eyes applied with wool and with rosaceum [1-53], 
wine and honey mixed with it. If it is sipped raw it helps 
bites of the snake called haemorrhois [a fable]; and 
warmed a little it is good for bladder distress, ulcerated 
kidneys, rough arteries, and the throwing up of blood, 
mucus and fluids in the chest. 


201 


LIVING CREATURES 


2-56. TETTIGES 

Acridiiae, Locustidae — Grasshoppers 

G rasshoppers if they are eaten roasted help disorders 
of the bladder. 

2-57. AKRIDES 

Acridiiae, Oedipoda migratoria, Pachytylus migratorius 
— Locusts 

L ocusts (smoked and inhaled) help difficulty in 
urinating, especially in women. Their flesh is useless. 
One kind of locust called asiracos or on 05 is without wings, 
having great limbs when it is young. This is dried and 
taken in a drink with wine as a great help to those bitten 
by scorpions. The Africans who inhabit Leptis feed on 
these abundantly [food], 

2-58. PHINIS 


Pandion [ Falco ] haliaetus — Osprey, Ossifrage 

P hinis is a bird that they call ossifragum in Latin. When 
given little by little of this in drink it is said to expel 
stones from urine. 


2-59. KORUDALLOS 

A lauda arvensis — Skylark, Crested Lark 

T he lark is only a little bird having on the top of its 
head a tuft standing up similar to that of the peacock. 
This bird eaten roasted is good for those troubled with 
colic. 


2-60. CHELIDON 

H irundo rustica — Swallows 

C utting apart [at the increase of the moon] young 
swallows of the first hatching, you shall find stones 


202 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


in their bellies, of which take two, one of various colours 
and the other clear [and of one colour]. Place these in an 
heifer's or hart's skin before they touch the ground and 
tie them to the arm or neck. You shall with this ease and 
often wholly recover from epilepsy. Swallows are eaten 
with their ficedulae [intestines] as a medicine for causing 
sharp sight, and the ashes of them and of their female 
parents burnt in a ceramic pot and rubbed on with honey 
cause sharpness of sight. It is also good rubbed on for 
those with tonsillitis, and for inflammation of the uvula 
and tonsils. Swallows and their young ones (dried, and 
one teaspoon taken in a drink with water) help those 
who have tons i ll i tis. 

2-61. ELEPHANTOS ODONTOS 
RINISMA 

Elephant's Tooth 

T he scraping of elephant's tooth when applied cures 
whitlows of the finger or toenails. It is astringent. 

2-62. ASTRAGALOS UOS 


Knucklebone of Pig 

T he anklebone of a swine (burnt until it becomes 
white, then pounded to powder and taken in a 
drink) heals gas from colic, and griping that has endured 
for a long time. 


2-63. ELAPHOU KERAS 


Burnt Horn of a Hart — adult male Red Deer 

T he horn of a hart (burnt, washed and two spoonfuls 
taken in a drink) is good with gum tragacanth for 
bloodspitters, dysentery, coeliac [intestinal complaints], 
jaundice and disorders of the bladder. It is also good for 
women troubled with excessive [menstrual] discharge, 
given with some liquid suitable for that suffering. It is 
burnt in an oven (first pounded and put into an unfired 
clay pot, sealed around with clay, and fired) until it is 


203 


LIVING CREATURES 


white, and then afterwards it is washed in a similar way 
to cad mi a [5-84], This is good for discharges and ulcers in 
the eyes; and rubbed on the teeth it cleans them. If burnt 
raw it drives away snakes with the smell. Boiled with 
vinegar and used as a mouthwash it soothes pain of the 
inner teeth. 


2-64. KAMPAI 


Caterpillars 

T he erucae [caterpillars] which breed on vegetables 
rubbed with oil on anyone are said to protect him 
from the bites of poisonous beasts. 

2-65. KANTHARIDES 

Cantharides vesicatoria — Spanish Fly Beetles 

POISONOUS 

T hose dried beetles that are gathered from the corn 
are fit for storage. Place them into an unglazed jar 
and tie around the mouth of it a clean thin linen cloth: 
turn them towards the fumes of very sharp warmed 
vinegar and hold them there until they are stifled. Then 
thrust them through with a thread and store them. The 
most effective have the most diversity of colours, 
yellowish cross streaks [in their wings], and are long- 
bodied, full and fat, like the blattae [cockroaches]. Those 
of one colour are ineffective. 

2-66. BOUPRESTEIS 

Buprestis — B upr esti dae— Bupressedes 

POISONOUS 


I n the same way the bupressedes are preserved for 
storage. They are types of cantharides [2-65] and erucae 
[caterpillars] of the pine tree. Roasted a little in hot ashes, 
they are stored and kept in a sieve that hangs up. Their 
common strength [see above] is antiseptic, anti-ulcerous 
and heating; as a result they are mixed in medicines that 
cure diseases of the cornea, leprosy and wild impetigo 


204 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


[skin infection]. Mixed with soothing suppositories they 
encourage the menstrual flow. Some also have related 
that these cantharides [2-65] help dropsy by moving the 
urine. Some also believe that the wings and feet of them 
are an antidote for those who have taken parasites in a 
drink. 


2-67. SALAMANDRA 


Salamandridae — Salamander 

T he salamander is a kind of lizard, lazy, variously 
spotted, in vain thought fireproof. It is antiseptic, 
ulcerating, and heating. They are mixed in antiseptic and 
leprosy medicines to the same benefit as cantharides [2-65] 
and kept in store in a similar way. Moistened with oil 
they remove hair [depilatory]. They are disembowelled, 
the head and the feet taken away, and preserved in 
honey for the same uses. 

2-68. ARACHNE 


A rachn a dae — Spiders 

T he spider — a creature also called holcos or lycos (that 
is, raptor, for example, lupus ) — worked into one 
piece with a plaster, spread on linen and applied to the 
forehead or temples, cures the periodical circuits of 
paroxysm every third day in acute fevers. The cobwebs of 
spiders are applied to staunch blood, and prevent 
inflammation in ulcers that break out on the surface of 
the skin. There is another kind of spider which spins a 
white web, thin and thick, of which it is said that when 
put into a purse of leather and hanged around the arm it 
cures the flows of quartain [with paroxysms every fourth 
day] acute fevers. Boiled together with rosaceum [1-53] 
and poured in the ears it helps earaches. 


205 


LIVING CREATURES 


2-69. SAURA 

Lacertilia — Lizard 

T he head of a lizard (pounded into small pieces and 
applied) draws out splinters or whatever else sticks 
to [the body], and takes away formicosam [anthill-shaped] 
warts, pen sites [growths which hang down] (which they 
call acrochordonas [hanging warts]) and corns. The liver is 
put into the cavities of teeth to cause the pain to cease. 
Cut quite apart and applied it eases those touched by a 
scorpion. 


2-70. SEPS 

Lizard of scincoid genus Seps — poisonous 

S eps (also called the Calchidicen lizard) taken as a drink 
in wine heals those bitten by him. 

2-71. SKINKOS 


Scincus officinalis — Skink 

S chin chi are found in Egypt, India and some at the Red 
Sea. Some are found in Libya, others near a river of 
Mauritania. It is an earth crocodile of its own kind that is 
preserved in salt with nasturtium [2-185]. They say that a 
teaspoonful of the part of it that lies around the kidneys 
(taken in a drink of wine) is a great provocative to lust 
[aphrodisiac], and yet for all that, a decoction of lentils 
taken as a drink with honey (or the seed of lettuce taken 
in a drink with water) represses the intensity of this 
inclination. It is also mixed with antidotes. 

2-72. ENTERA GES 


Lumbricus — Earthworms 

W orms from the soil (pounded into small pieces and 
applied) glue together sinews that are cut apart. 
They dissolve tertians [fevers with paroxysms every third 
day]. Boiled with goose grease they cure diseases of the 


206 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


ears, dropped in there. Boiled together with oil and 
poured into the opposing ear they help toothaches. 
Pounded into small pieces and taken in a drink with 
passu m [raisin wine] they expel urine. 

2-73. MUOGALE 

M yogale species — Shrew Mouse 

T he shrewmouse (cut apart and applied) is a remedy 
for its own bites. 

2-74. MUES 

M us musculus — House Mouse 

I t is declared that cut-apart house mice are usefully 
applied to those touched by scorpions, and that eaten 
roasted they dry the spittle in the mouths of children. 

2-75. GALA 


SUGGESTED: Milk 

A ll milk is commonly good to drink, nourishing, 
softening to the intestines, and causing the stomach 
and bowels to be inflated with gas. That which is made in 
the spring has a more watery substance than that of the 
summer, and that which comes from green pasture 
softens the intestines more. The best milk is white, has an 
equal thickness, and 'beads' when it is dropped on a 
fingernail. Goat's milk disturbs the intestines less because 
goats for the most part feed on astringent food such as the 
oak, lentisk [1-90], and the leaves of the olive tree and 
terminthos[l-9l]. As a result it is also good for the stomach. 
Sheep milk is both thick and sweet and very fat but not so 
good for the stomach. Cow's, asses' and mare's milk make 
the intestines more laxative and trouble it. All mi l k 
overturns the stomach and the intestines where the 
pasture is scammonious or has hellebore, mercury [4-191] 
or clematis, as has been observed by us in the Vestin 
mountains. For goats vomit which feed on the leaves of 
the white hellebore when they first shoot out; and their 


207 


LIVING CREATURES 


milk overturns the stomach and has a nauseous nature. 
All milk when boiled becomes astringent to the 
intestines, especially that which is evaporated by burning 
flints. In general it helps all internal ulcers, especially of 
the throat, lungs, intestines, kidneys and bladder. 
Against all itchiness in appearance, pustules and corrupt 
fluids it is given fresh with raw honey and a little water 
mixed together (salt also being mixed with it). That which 
has been once boiled is less inflating. That which is boiled 
with pebble stones and reduced to half, helps discharges 
of the bowels accompanied with ulceration. 


2-76. ORROS GALAKTOS 


SUGGESTED: Whey 


A ll milk has whey contained within it. Separated out, 
this is fitter for purging and is given to those whom 
we would purge without distress, as well as for 
depression, epilepsy, leprosy, elephantiasis, and pustules 
that break out over the whole body. 


2-77. GALA SCHISTON 


SUGGESTED: Junket 



11 milk is separated by boiling it in a new ceramic jar 


L Y.and stirring it with a freshly cut down fig tree 
branch. After it has boiled two or three times a wine-cup 
of vinegar and honey for every half-pint of mi lk is poured 
into it: thus the whey is parted from the cheesy matter. So 
that the milk does not boil over you must continually rub 
the brim of the jar with a sponge dipped in cold water 
during boiling, and let down a silver pint jar full of cold 
water into it. Whey is given to drink (at intervals) in 
amounts of from one half-pint to five, and let those who 
drink it walk around during that time. New milk is good 
for ulcers, and inflammation caused by deadly medicines 
like cantharis [2-65], pityocampa [pine grub or pine 
caterpillar], salamander, buprestis [2-66], hyoscyamus 
[4-69], dorycnium [4-75], aconitum [4-77, 4-78], or 
ephemerum [4-85]. For this cow's mil k helps best. It is also 
gargled for ulcers of the mouth and tonsils. Especially 
asses' milk gargled in the mouth strengthens the gums 


208 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


and the teeth. If you place hot burning flints into the milk 
of sheep, cows, or goats to boli it, this stops discharges 
accompanied with ulceration. It is given as a suppository 
or enema (either by itself or with barley water or cream of 
halica [2-114]) to relieve considerable gnawing of the 
intestines. It is also squirted into an ulcerated vulva. 

2-78. GALA GUNAIKOS 


SUGGESTED: Woman's Milk 

W oman's milk is the sweetest and most nourishing. 

Sucked, it is good for pangs of hunger in the 
stomach and for consumption. It is also an antidote in a 
drink for someone that has taken sea hare [2-20]. Mixed 
with frankincense that has been pounded into small 
pieces, it is dropped into eyes that are bloodshot from a 
blow. It is good for gout rubbed on with meconium [4-65] 
and ceratium [wax ointments]. All milk is worthless for the 
splenetic and hepatic, vertigo, epilepsy, and those 
troubled in their tendons, those who have fevers or 
whose heads ache, unless at any time one gives them 
whey for purgation as was formerly shown. Some say 
that the milk of a bitch when she first whelps removes 
hair when rubbed on. Taken as a drink it is an antidote 
against poisonous medicines, and casts out dead 
embryos. 


2-79. TUROS NEAROS 


SUGGESTED: New Cheese 

N ew cheese eaten without salt is nourishing, good 
for the stomach, easy to digest, increasing the flesh 
[weight gain] and mildly softening the bowels. Some is 
better than the other, according to the nature of the mil k 
from which it is made. Boiled and strained out, then 
roasted, it is astringent in the intestines, and applied it is 
good for inflammation and bruises of the eyes. New 
salted cheese is more nourishing and if eaten is good for 
shrinking of the flesh [weight loss]. It is bad for the 
stomach, upsetting the intestines and the bowels. That 


209 


LIVING CREATURES 


which is older is therapeutic for the intestines, and the 
whey that is made along with cheese is very good 
nourishment for dogs. 

2-80. HIPPACE 


SUGGESTED: Horse Cheese 

T hat which they call hippdce is horse cheese. It has a 
poisonous smell yet is very nourishing and very 
similar to that made from pigs' milk. Some have called 
the horse's rennet by the name of hippdce. 

2-81. BUTURON 

SUGGESTED: Butter 

G ood butter is made of the fattest m il k such as ewes' 
milk. It is also made from milk of goats, the milk 
being stirred around in jars until the fat is separated. It is 
softening and has the qualities of oil. Taken by itself it 
loosens the intestines, and when oil is not available it is an 
antidote against poison. Mixed and rubbed on with 
honey it helps teething and itching of the gums in 
children, and ulcers of the mouth [thrush, candidiasis]. 
Rubbed on externally it preserves the body and prevents 
pustules from breaking out. Butter that is neither stinking 
nor old is good against inflammations and hard lumps of 
the womb. It is given as a suppository for dysentery and 
ulceration of the COlus [? possibly colon]. It is also of 
benefit mixed in suppurating medicines — especially for 
wounds around the nerves, neural membrane, bladder 
and neck. It f i ll s and cleans and encourages new flesh. 
Applied it is good for one bitten by an asp. New butter is 
put in sauce for meats instead of oil, and in cakes instead 
of fat. 

Soot is gathered from butter as follows. Pour some 
butter into a new lamp, set it on fire and having covered it 
let it burn in a ceramic jar made similar to a siphunculus [a 
little pipe from which water spurts], narrow above but 
with holes underneath. When the first butter is used up 
pour in more and repeat the procedure until you have 
got as much soot as you desire. Then scrape it off with a 


210 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


feather or wing and use it. It is useful in eye medicines, to 
dry, and as an astringent. It stops discharges and quickly 
brings ulcers to a scar. 

2-82. ERIA 

SUGGESTED: Wool 

T he best, unwashed wool is softest, like that from the 
neck and from the thighs. It is good (moistened in 
vinegar and oil or wine) as first treatment for wounds, 
bruises, peeling, black and blue bruises, and broken 
bones. For it easily drinks up the liquors into which it is 
dipped, and by reason of the oesypum [lanolin] that it 
contains it is softening. It is good applied with vinegar 
and rosaceum [1-53] for headaches and pains in the 
stomach or any other place. 

2-83. ERIA KEKAUMENA 


SUGGESTED: Burnt Wool 

B urnt wool has the properties of scab forming, 
repressing abnormal growths of flesh, and drawing 
ulcers to a scar. It is burnt in an unfired clay jar (in the 
same way as other things) after being cleaned and 
carded. Locks of wool that have been dyed with sea 
purple [pu pur ea — shellfish] are burnt in the same way. 
Some card the wool with the lanolin on, moisten it with 
honey and burn it. Some lay little spits [skewers] in a 
ceramic jar with a broad mouth, separate from one 
another, and lay thin chips of teda [taeda — pitch pine] on 
it, then place the wool (carded and moistened with oil) on 
them so that it may not fall. Layering the chips and the 
wool one on the other by turn they set the teda [chips] 
gently on fire underneath and take them away when 
they have burnt out. If any fat or pitch fall s down from 
the teda it is taken and stored separately. The ash from 
wool is washed for eye medicines in a ceramic jar. Water 
is poured on it and lustily stirred around with the hands, 
and after it is settled the water is poured out and other 
poured on and stirred around again. This is done until it 
does not bite if applied to the tongue but is somewhat 
astringent. 


211 


FATS 


FATS 

2-84. OISUPON 

SUGGESTED: Wool Fat, Lanolin 

T he greasiness of unwashed wool is called oesypum 
[lanolin]. You can prepare it as follows. Take soft 
unwashed wool scoured with the herb soapweed 
[soapwort], wash it in hot water, squeeze out all the filth, 
throw it into a broad-mouthed jar, and pouring water on 
it pour it from on high back again with a great spoon, 
tumbling it down forcibly until it foams, or stir it around 
lustily with a stick until a quantity of foul foam gathers 
together. Afterwards sprinkle it with seawater. When the 
fat that swims on top has settled, put it into another 
ceramic jar, and pouring water into the jar stir it around 
again and sprinkle the foam with water and repeat as 
above. Do this until there is no more foam on it, the 
greasy matter having been used up. Mix the oesypum 
[lanolin] that is gathered by hand. If it has any filth 
remaining on it take it away. Let the first water fall away 
drop by drop, pour in more and stir it around with the 
hand until, if applied to the tongue it does not bite, is 
somewhat astringent and it looks fat, clean and white. 
Store it in a ceramic jar. This should be done while the 
sun is warm. Some press out the grease and wash it in 
cold water, rubbing it with their hands as women do stiff 
ointments and this is whiter. Others wash the wool and 
press out the filth, boil it with water in a kettle over a 
gentle fire, take away the grease that floats on top and 
wash it in water as was already explained. Straining it out 
into a ceramic platter that has warm water in it, they 
cover it with a linen cloth and set it out in the sun until it 
becomes sufficiently thick and white. Some (after two 
days) pour out the first water and pour in fresh. The best 
is not cleaned with r adieu Id [radish], is smooth, smells of 
unwashed wool, and when rubbed with cold water in a 
shell, grows white. It has nothing in it hard or compacted 
such as that counterfeited with wax ointment or animal 
fat. It is able to warm and soften and fill ulcers, especially 
those around the perineum and vulva. Applied in wool 
with metitot [3-48] and butter it is an abortifacient and 


212 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


draws out the menstrual flow, (and is good) with goose 
grease for sores in the ears and genitals. It is also good 
around the corners of eyes that have been eaten into and 
are scabbed, and for eyelids that have grown hard and 
shed their hair. Oesypum [lanolin] is burnt in a new 
ceramic jar until it is turned into ashes and loses all its fat. 
Soot is gathered from it (in the same way as we have 
previously described), good for eye medicines. 

2-85. PITUA 


SUGGESTED: Rennet 

T hirty grains of rennet of hare (taken in a drink of 
wine) is good for those bitten by venomous 
creatures, coeliac [intestinal complaints], dysentery, for 
women troubled with excessive discharges from the 
womb, for clotting blood together, and for throwing 
blood up out of the chest. Applied after the cleansing 
(that is, monthly, and a little before lying together) to the 
vulva with butter it causes inconception. Taken in a drink 
it is an abortifacient, and after the menstrual flow 
purging it hinders conception [birth control]. Rennet of a 
horse that some call hippace is particularly good for the 
abdominal cavity and dysentery. Rennet of a lamb, kid, 
fawn, doe, platyceros [stag], dorcas [D orcatherium aquaticum 
— ruminant], deer, calf, and wild ox have similar 
properties and are good (taken as a drink in wine) as an 
antidote against aconitum [4-77, 4-78], and for clotting 
milk if used with vinegar. In particular the rennet of a 
fawn applied the third day after the monthly purgation 
hinders conception. Rennet of the sea calf [seal — Phoca 
vitulina ] has a strength very similar to castorium [2-26]. It is 
thought to be especially good (taken as a drink) for 
epilepsy, and for constriction of the womb. Now to know 
whether it is the authentic rennet of sea calf it is tested as 
follows. Take the rennet of some other creature 
(especially of a lamb) and having put water onto it leave it 
alone a little while. Afterwards pour the liquid in which 
that rennet lay on the rennet of the sea calf. If it is 
authentic it immediately melts into the water, and if it is 
not it remains as it was. Sea calves' rennet is taken from 
the young ones when not yet able to swim together (with 


213 


FATS 


the old). In general all rennet gathers together things that 
are scattered and dissolves things that are gathered 
together. 


2-86. STEAR 


SUGGESTED: Goose Grease 

N ew fat of either geese or poultry (even if it is kept 
long, but without salt) is good for disorders of the 
womb. That which is salted or has turned sour through 
age is an enemy to the womb. Take any of these, fresh, 
and strip off the skin from it. Put it into a new ceramic jar 
that could contain twice as much fat as you mean to 
provide. Having covered the jar carefully set it out in a 
very hot sun then strain out the part which has melted 
into another ceramic jar until all is used, then put it into a 
very cold place and use it. Some, instead of the sun, set 
the jar over hot water or over a small and gentle coal fire. 
There is also another way of preparing it as follows. After 
the skin is removed from the fat, it is pounded and put on 
to a platter, melted, and a little fine salt is put on it, then it 
is strained through a linen cloth and put in jars. This fat is 
good mixed with medicines that take away weariness. 

2-87. STEAR HUEION KAI ARNEION 


SUGGESTED: Lard and Bear Grease 

F ats from swine or bears are prepared as follows. Take 
the new thick fat that grows around the kidneys, 
remove the skin, and put it into a good amount of very 
cold rain water, rubbing it carefully with the hands and 
(as it were) reviving it again. Having washed it often in 
clean water, put it into a ceramic jar that will hold twice 
the amount, add enough water to cover the fat, set it over 
a gentle fire of coals and stir it with a continuous 
splashing. When it has melted strain it through a strainer 
into water and let it cool. Then removing all the water 
gently from it, carefully put it again into another jar 
already washed beforehand, place water on it and melt it 
gently. Having taken it down and allowed the dregs to 
settle a little put it into a mortar moistened with a sponge. 
When it has congealed take it down and take off the filth 


214 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


lying in the bottom. Melt it again a third time without 
water and pour it again into the mortar. Having cleaned 
it, store it in tightly corked ceramic jars and put the jars in 
a very cold place. 

2-88. STEAR TRAGEION, KAI 
PROBATEION, KAI ELAPHEION 


SUGGESTED: Mutton Suet etc. 

G oat, sheep and furthermore deer suet is prepared as 
follows. Take the fat of any of these (as described in 
the previous discussion) and having washed it (as 
explained in the preparation of fat of swine) remove the 
skin, put it into a mortar to temper it and beat it, pouring 
in a little water until nothing similar to blood comes from 
it, no fat swims on it, and it becomes clear. Then throw it 
into a ceramic jar and add to it enough water to cover it, 
put it over a gentle coal fire and stir it around. When it is 
all melted, pour it into water and cool it. Having washed 
the jar, melt the suet a second time and repeat the 
procedure. Then having melted it a third time without 
water, strain it out into a mortar moistened with water, 
and when it is cold bottle it for storage like fat of swine. 

2-89. STEAR BOEION 


SUGGESTED: Ox or Cow Suet 

F rom ox or cow suet (which is near the kidneys) the 
skin is to be taken off, and it must be washed in sea 
water taken out of the ocean, then it must be put into a 
mortar and pounded carefully, sprinkling the seawater 
on it. When it is all dissolved it must be put into a ceramic 
jar and sea water poured into it to stand no less than 
twenty centimetres above it, and it must be boiled until it 
has lost its own smell. Afterwards for every Attic 
[Athenian] pound of the suet you must put in four 
teaspoonfuls of Tyrrhenian [Etruscan] wax. Then (having 
strained it and taken away the filth that lies in the 
bottom) it must be put into a new jar. Afterwards it is 
covered and is to be set out every day in the sun so that it 
may become white and lose its bad taste. 


215 


FATS 


2-90. STEAR TAUREION, PARDALEION 
KAI LEONTEION 


SUGGESTED: Bulls' Suet etc. 

B ulls' suet must be prepared as follows. Take new fat 
from the kidneys, wash it with running water from 
the river, and having pulled off the skin put the fat into a 
new clay jar, sprinkle a little salt on it and melt it. Then 
strain it out into clear water. When it begins to congeal 
rub it diligently with the hands again, pouring out and 
pouring on water until it is thoroughly washed. Then 
place it into the jar again and boil it with the same 
amount of sweet-smelling wine. When it has boiled 
twice, remove the jar from the fire and let the fat remain 
in there all night. If there is any bad smell left in it the day 
after, place it into another ceramic jar, pour 
sweet-smelling wine on it again and repeat (as has been 
formerly described) until it discards all rank smell. It is 
also melted without salt to be used in some sores for 
which salt is not indicated. Prepared like this it is not very 
white. In the same way panthers', lions', wild boars', 
camels', horses', and other similar fats are prepared. 

2-91. STEAR POS AROMATISTEON 


SUGGESTED: Fats Blended with Scent 

C alves' fat as well as fat from bulls and deer and the 
bone marrow of deer are given a sweet smell as 
follows. Remove the skin from the fat you want to 
perfume, wash it as shown above and boil it in fragrant 
wine without any sea water in it. Afterwards cool it down 
and let it remain all night. Then pour in more of the same 
kind of wine, the same amount as before, melt it and 
carefully skim it. For every four and a half pints of fat add 
seven teaspoonfuls of juncus arabicus [1-16, 4-52], If you 
would like to make it smell sweeter, add to this forty 
teaspoonfuls of flowers of juncus arabicus, and as many 
teaspoonfuls of palm, cassia and calamus [1-1 7, 1-114], and 
one teaspoon each of aspalathus [1-19] and xylobalsamum 
[1-18]. Mix with all of this one ounce each of cinnamon, 
cardamom and nardus[ 1-6, 1-7, 1-8, 1-10]. Let all of them 
be pounded very finely. Afterwards pour in fragrant 


216 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


wine, cork the jar tightly, set it securely over coals and 
boil it all together three times. Then take it from the fire 
and let it remain in the jar all night. On the following day 
pour out the wine and put in more of the same kind, boil 
it together three times in a similar way and remove it. On 
the next morning (after having taken out the salt) pour 
out the wine, then wash the jar and take away the filth 
that sticks in the bottom, melt and strain the fat, put it in 
jars and use it. 

In the same way fat that was prepared beforehand is 
made sweet smelling. The previously described fats are 
first thickened as follows so that they may more readily 
receive the strength of the sweet odour. Take the fat and 
boil it with wine; place in there a myrtle branch, 
serpyllum, [3-46] and Cyprus [1-124], as well as aspalathus 
[1-19] (all thoroughly pounded). Some are content with 
one of these for this purpose. When the fat has boiled for 
the third time, take it off gently, strain it through a linen 
cloth and then aromatize it as described already. 

Fats are also thickened as follows. Pound whatever 
fats you have (which are new and not mixed with blood 
or having other marks which have been often spoken of). 
Put them into a new jar and pour in old odoriferous 
white wine so that it exceeds eight fingers in depth. Boil 
them together using a slow fire until the fat has lost its 
native scent and rather smells of the wine. Then take off 
the jar and cool it. Take out two pounds of the fat and 
place it into a jar and add four half-pints of the same wine 
and four pounds of pounded seeds from a lotus tree 
[1-171], and that tree whose wood those who make pipes 
use. Boil it over a gentle fire stirring it around 
continuously, and when it has lost all its strong greasy 
smell, strain it and let it cool. Take one pound of bruised 
aspalathus [1-19] and four pounds of the flowers of 
amaracinum [1-68], steep them in old wine and let them 
absorb it for one night. Then on the following day put 
them with the fat into a new ceramic jar that will hold 
three gallons, and add to this two and a quarter litres of 
wine and boil everything together. When the fat has 
received all the strength and smell of the thickeners take 
it down, strain it, melt it and put it in jars. If you wish to 
make it smell sweeter, mix with all of this eight 
teaspoonfuls of the fattest myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] 
diluted in very old wine. 


217 



FATS 


Poultry or goose grease is given a sweet scent as 
follows. Take two pints of either of these fats (which have 
been already prepared), place them into an earthenware 
pot, mix with it exactly twelve teaspoonfuls each of 
pounded erysisceptrum [1-4], xylobalsamum [1-18], palma 
elaterium [4-155], and calamus [1-17, 1-114], and having 
added to this one wine-cupful of old Lesbos wine, set it 
over the coals and make it boil three times. Then take the 
jar from the fire and allow the things in it to cool for one 
day and night. The following day melt them and press 
them through a clean linen cloth into a clean jar. When 
the fat congeals take it out with a spoon (as previously 
described) put it into a new ceramic jar, stop it tightly, 
and put the jars in a very cold place. All this must be done 
in the winter for in the summer it will not adhere 
together. Some to help the process mix in a little 
Tyrrhenian wax. In the same way both swine fat and bear 
fat and other similar fats are given a fragrant smell. 

2-92. STEAR POS SAMPSUCHITETAI 


To Perfume Fat with Sampsuchum 
suggested: A maracus, M aiorana [Fuchs], M ajorana vulgaris 
[Bauhin ], Sampsuchum, Sampsucum, Origanum majorum 
[Pliny], Origanum major ana [Linneaus], 

Origanum majoranoides, M ajorana horten sis 
— Sweet Marjoram, Knotted Marjoram 

F at is made to smell like sampsuchum as follows. Take 
one pound of well-prepared fat (especially bulls' fat) 
and a pound and a half of carefully bruised ripe 
sampsuchum, mix them, sprinkle on it a good quantity of 
wine and form them into little cakes. Afterwards place 
them into a jar, cover them and let them remain for that 
night. In the morning throw them into a ceramic jar, pour 
water on them and boil them gently. When the fat loses 
its own taste, strain it and let it stand (well-covered) all 
that night. The next morning take out the paste, and 
having cooled it, wipe away the filth in the bottom. Mix in 
again another pound and a half of bruised sampsuchum 
(as before), and make it into little cakes again, repeating 
the remainder of the process. Most importantly boil and 
strain it, and additionally take away the filth if any 
remains in the bottom, and put it in jars in a very cold 
place. 


218 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-93. STEAR CHENEION KAI 
ORNITHEION 

SUGGESTED: Preserving Fat of Geese and Poultry 

I f anyone wants to preserve fat of geese, poultry or 
calves (which has not been prepared) from putrefying, 
it can be done as follows. Take whichever fresh fat you 
have, wash it well, and after you have thoroughly cooled 
it in a sieve in the shade (when it is dry) put it into a clean 
linen cloth and press it out strongly with your hands. 
Then (having put a string through it) hang it up in a 
shady place. After many days wrap it in new paper and 
put it in jars in a very cold place. Fats also remain pure 
stored in honey. 

2-94. STEATON DUNAMIS 


SUGGESTED: Medicinal uses of Fats 

A ll fat is warming, softening and purifying; yet that of 
bulls, cows and calves is somewhat astringent. The 
lions' is similar to these and they say it is an antidote to 
defend against those who intend treachery. Fat from 
elephants and deer (rubbed on) drives away snakes. That 
from goats is more astringent, as a result it is given boiled 
with polenta, rhoe [4-64] and cheese for dysentery; and 
with barley water as a suppository or enema. The broth of 
these fats (sipped) is good for those with pulmonary 
consumption, and is effective given as an antidote to 
those who have taken a drink of parasitically infected 
water. Fat from goats has the most dissolving nature and 
helps the gouty, tempered with the berries of a goat [i.e. 
with goat's dung] and saffron and applied. Sheep fat is 
equivalent to this. Swines' fat is applied for disorders of 
the womb and perineum, and is also good for those burnt 
by fire. The same (kept in salt and grown very old in there 
as it were) warms and soothes. Washed in wine it is good 
for pleurisy. The same (applied with ash or chalk) is good 
for oedema, inflammation and fistulas [ulcers]. They say 
that ass’s fat makes scars all one colour. Fats of geese and 
poultry are good for women's disorders, cracks of the 
lips, clearing the face, and for sores of the ears. Bears' fat is 
thought to make hair that was destroyed by alopecid 


219 


FATS 


[baldness] grow again, and is good for chilblains. Foxes' 
fat cures sores of the ears. Fat of river fish (melted in the 
sun and mixed with honey) rubbed on the eyes clears 
their sight. The fat of a viper mixed (in equal parts) with 
cedrid [1-105] Attic [Athenian] honey and old oil is also 
good for dullness of the sight and liquids in the eyes. It 
makes hair in the armpits that has been removed never 
come up again, applied by itself at the roots of the hair 
[depilatory]. 


2-95. MUELOI 


SUGGESTED: Bone Marrow 

D eer marrow is the best, then that from a calf, after, 
that from a bull, then a goat and a sheep. They are 
gathered at the time when spring is drawing on, and 
towards the autumn, for at other times of the year it is 
found in the bones — looking bloody and similar to flesh 
that is easily broken. It is hard to recognise except by 
whoever takes it out of the bones and preserves it. All 
marrow is softening, purifying, and healing, and fills up 
the hollow sores of ulcers. The bone marrow of a deer 
(rubbed on) also drives away venomous creatures. It is 
prepared like fat [above] being taken out of the choicest 
and freshest bones. Water is poured on it, and afterwards 
it is strained through a linen cloth and similarly washed 
until the water becomes clean. Afterwards it is melted in a 
double jar, the filth that swims on top is taken off with a 
feather, and it is strained out into a mortar. After it has 
congealed it is stored in a new earthenware jar, the filth 
that lies at the bottom having been carefully scraped 
away. If you want to store it unprepared follow the 
directions given in fats of poultry and of geese. 

2-96. CHOLE PASA 


SUGGESTED: Gall from various Animals 

A ll kinds of gall is prepared and stored as follows. 

Take gall that is new, bind the mouth [of the gall 
bladder] with a linen thread, put it into boiling water, and 
then let it remain for as long as it would take to travel 
three furlongs [3/8 mile]. Afterwards take it out and dry it 


220 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


in a shady dry place. For galls that you intend to mix with 
eye medicines, bind them with a linen thread, put them 
into a glass bottle containing honey, tie the beginning of 
the thread to the mouth of the bottle, then cork it and put 
it in storage. 

All kinds of gall are sharp and warming, varying in 
strength depending on their source. Galls from sea 
scorpions [2-14], the fish called callionymus [ uranoscopus ], 
sea turtles and hyenas seem to be more effective; as well 
as that of partridge, eagle, white hens and wild she-goats. 
They serve effectively for liquids and darkness of the eyes 
that has recently begun, argema [small white ulcer on the 
cornea], and coarse eyelids. A bull's gall is more effective 
than that from a sheep, swine, or goat, as well as that 
from a bear. All of them have a tendency to laxativeness 
(especially in children), if, dipping a lock of wool in there, 
you apply it to the perineum. Bulls' gall with honey is 
effectively rubbed on those troubled with tonsillitis. It 
heals [ulcers] on the perineum to a scar, and purulent 
ears and cracks in them, dropped in with goats' m i lk or 
women's, and it is also good for noise in the ears 
[dropped in] with juice from leeks. It is put into wound 
plasters, and ointments that are rubbed about the body to 
prevent poisoning. It is good with honey against 
spreading erosive ulcers, and pains of the genitals and of 
the scrotum. It is an excellent cleanser for leprosy and 
dandruff with nitre [potassium nitrate — saltpetre] or 
fuller's earth [ammonium silicate]. Sheep and bear galls 
are good for the same purposes but they are somewhat 
weaker: bear gall (taken in a linctus [syrup]) helps those 
with falling sickness. Gall from a tortoise is put into the 
nostrils for tonsillitis, and is also good for gangrenous 
ulceration in the mouths of children, and epilepsy. Gall 
from a wild she-goat rubbed on effectively cures the 
dim-sighted. That from a he-goat does the same, and also 
takes away glandular fever. Rubbed on, it represses the 
protuberances of elephantiasis [skin disease]. Gall from 
swine is effective taken for ulcers in the ears and all the 
other things. 


221 



FATS 


2-97. PERI HAIMATON 


Blood — CAUTION 

B lood from a goose, duck, drake, or kid are usefully 
mixed with antidotes. Blood from a wood dove, 
turtle, pigeon, and partridge are rubbed on new sores on 
eyes and on eyes that are bloodshot and have dull sight. 
In particular that from a pigeon stops bleeding from the 
meninges [membranes of the spinal cord and brain] . Blood 
from a he-goat, she-goat, deer or hare (fried in a pan and 
eaten) stop dysentery and discharges of the abdominal 
cavity. Taken in a drink with wine it is an antidote against 
poison. A hare's blood rubbed on warm cures sunburn 
and freckles. Dog's blood (taken as a drink) is good for 
those bitten by a mad dog, or who have taken poison in a 
drink. Blood from an earth tortoise (taken as a drink) is 
said to be good for epileptics. Blood of a sea turtle (taken 
in a drink with wine, rennet of a hare and cumin), is good 
against the bites of venomous creatures, and an antidote 
for drinking anything hateful or loathsome. Blood from a 
bull applied with polenta disperses and softens hardness. 
Blood of stall i on horses is mixed with antiseptic 
medicines. Blood from a chamaeleon is believed to make 
the eyelids hairless, and that from green frogs is thought 
to have the same effectiveness. The menstrual blood of a 
woman rubbed on her (or if she walks over it) is thought 
to keep her from conception; yet rubbed on it alleviates 
the pains of gout and erysipela [streptococcal skin 
infection]. 


2-98. APOPATOS 


Dung — CAUTION 

T he dung of a cow from the herd (applied whil s t fresh) 
lessens the inflammation of wounds. It is wrapped in 
leaves, warmed in hot ashes, and applied. The 
application of it in the same way serves as a warm pack 
for lessening sciatica. Applied with vinegar it dissolves 
hardness, scrofulous tumours [goitres], and bone 
inflammation. In particular, breathing smoke from the 
burning dung of a male beast of the herd restores a uterus 
that has fallen down, and the fumes also drive gnats 


222 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


away. The berries [dung] of goats, especially those that 
live on the mountains, (taken in a drink with wine) cures 
yellow jaundice. Taken in a drink with spices they induce 
the menstrual flow and are an abortifacient. Dried and 
pounded into small pieces and applied in wool with 
frankincense they stop the flows of women, and with 
vinegar they restrain other discharges of blood. They 
cure baldness, burnt and rubbed on with vinegar or 
vinegar and honey. Applied with swines' grease they 
help the gouty. Boiled with vinegar or wine they are 
applied to the bites of snakes, creeping ulcers, erysipela 
[streptococcal skin infection] and parotitis [inflamed 
glands e.g. mumps]. Burnt goat dung is effectively taken 
for sciatica as follows. In that hollow middle space 
between thumb and forefinger where the thumb 
approaches towards the wrist, first lay wool moistened in 
oil, then lay on it one by one hot pills of goat dung until 
the sense of it comes through the arm to the hip and 
lessens the pain. This type of burning is called Arabic. The 
dung of sheep applied with vinegar heals epinyctis 
[pustules which appear only at night], corns, hanging 
warts, and warty abnormal growths; as well as burns, 
used with a waxy ointment of rosaceum [1-53]. The dry 
(dung) of a wild swine (taken as a drink with water or 
wine) prevents throwing up of blood, and lessens a long- 
enduring pain of the side. For hernia and convulsions it is 
taken as a drink with vinegar, and it cures dislocations 
used with rosaceum [1-53] waxy ointment. The dung of 
asses as well as horses staunches bleeding (whether used 
raw or burnt) mixed with vinegar. Dung of one of the 
drove that goes at grass (after it is dry) is steeped in wine 
and taken as a drink to considerably help those bitten by 
scorpions. Doves' dung (being more hot and burning) is 
effective mixed with barley meal, but with vinegar it 
dissolves tumours [possibly goitre]. It breaks carbuncles 
[infected boils] [malignant skin tumours], pounded 
together with honey and hempseed and oil, and it heals 
burns. Poultry dung does the same but less effectively, 
yet in particular it is good (taken in a drink with vinegar 
or wine) as an antidote against deadly mushrooms and 
the suffering of COli [colic]. Dung of a stork (taken in a 
drink with water) is thought to be good for epilepsy. 
Inhaled, the smoke of the dung of a vulture is reported to 
be an abortifacient. The dung of mice (pounded into 
small pieces with vinegar and rubbed on) cures baldness. 


223 



FATS 


Taken as a drink with frankincense and honeyed wine it 
expels urinary stones. Mouse dung given to children [as a 
suppository] encourages the bowels to evacuate. Dog 
dung that is taken up in the heat of the dog days 
[midsummer], dried, and taken in a drink with water or 
wine, is an astringent for the bowels. That of men 
(new-made, applied as a poultice) keeps wounds from 
inflaming; and it closes open cuts and joins them 
together. Dried and rubbed on with honey it is reported 
to help those troubled with tonsillitis. The dung of an 
earth crocodile is good for women to colour the face and 
make it shine. The best is smallest and soon crumbled, 
smooth as amyl [starch] and quickly melted in liquid. 
Pounded, it is somewhat sour, resembling fermented 
dough in the smell. They counterfeit it by feeding 
starlings with rice and selling their dung because it is 
similar. Others mix amyl [starch] or cymolia [cimolite — 
soft earth — hydrous silicate of alumina], colour it with 
anchusd, sift it finely through a thin sieve, dry it until it 
looks like little worms and sell it instead of this. (It is 
found among secrets that man's dung as well as dogs' 
dung mixed with honey and applied to the throat is a 
remedy for tonsillitis.) 


2-99. PERI OURON 


Urine — caution 



man's own water (taken as a drink) is an antidote 


L JLagainst viper bites, deadly medicines and dropsy as 
it begins. And it is applied with hot cloths for the bites of 
sea vipers, sea scorpions, and sea dragons [2-15]. Dogs' 
urine makes a warm pack for those bitten by mad dogs, 
and with saltpetre [potassium nitrate] it cleans leprosy 
and itchiness. Older urine is a better cleanser for achor 
[scaly eruption of the scalp], dandruff, psoriasis and hot 
eruptions, and it represses gangrenous ulcerations, even 
those in the genitals. Put into purulent ears it represses 
their pus; and boiled in a pomegranate rind it dries out 
worms in the ears. The urine of an incorrupt boy (sipped) 
is good for asthma; and boiled in brass with honey it 
cleans the scar of a healed wound, argemae [small white 
ulcers on the cornea], and dim vision. The same urine 
with cyprian brass makes a glue for soldering gold 


224 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


together. The substance of the urine (rubbed on) 
alleviates erysipeld [streptococcal skin infection]. It eases 
pains of the womb boiled with cyprinum [1-65] and 
applied. It eases those troubled with constriction of the 
womb, cleans the eyelids, and purges scars in the eyes. 
Bull's urine pounded together with myrrh and dropped 
in the ears lessens earache. Boar's urine has a similar 
property — more particularly, taken as a drink it breaks 
and expels stones in the bladder. Two cups of urine of a 
goat taken in a drink with spied ndrdi [spikenard] with 
water every day (is said) to expel urine through the 
bowels, and dropped in the ears it cures sores of the ears. 
Urine of an ass is said to cure inflamed kidneys. 


2-100. LUNGOURION 


Lyncurium — Urine of a Lynx 


L yncurium [urine of a lynx] is thought (as soon as it is 
pissed out) to grow into a stone, as a result it has only 
a foolish report. Some call this succinum pterygophoron [the 
wing of accompaniment] because it draws feathers to it. 
Taken as a drink with water it is good for a stomach and 
intestines troubled with excessive discharge. 


2-101. MELI 


SUGGESTED: Honey 



ttic [Athenian] honey is the best, especially that 


xjLcalled hymettium; the next best is that from the 
Cyclad Islands, and that from Sicily called simblium. The 
most appreciated is extremely sweet and sharp, with a 
fragrant smell, a pale yellow colour, not liquid but 
glutinous and firm, and which when taken (as it were) 
leaps back to the finger. It is cleansing, opens pores, and 
draws out fluids. As a result it is good for all rotten and 
hollow ulcers when infused. Boiled and applied it heals 
flesh that stands separated, and it cures lichen [skin 
disease with red pustules] boiled with liquid allom 
[5-123] and applied; as well as noise in the ears and their 
pains, dropped in lukewarm with salt dug up or mined 
sea shells pounded into small pieces. Rubbed on it kill s 
lice and nits, and restores the exposed nut of the yard [old 


225 


FATS 


English — rod, penis] which was opened by 
circumcision, the foreskin being softened with honey 
(especially after bathing) for thirty days. It cleans away 
things that darken the pupils of the eyes. It heals 
inflammations around the throat and tonsils, and 
tonsillitis, either rubbed on or gargled. It induces the 
movement of urine, and cures coughs and those bitten by 
snakes. Taken warm with rosaceum [1-53] it is an antidote 
for meconium [4-65]; and is either licked or taken in a drink 
for fungi and those bitten by mad dogs. Raw [honey] 
inflates the intestines and encourages coughs — as a 
result you ought to use clarified [honey]. Spring honey is 
the best, then that of summer, but that of winter (being 
thicker) is the worst, causing weals and blisters. 

2-102. MELI SARDOON 

SUGGESTED: Sardinian Honey 

T he honey that is made in Sardinia is bitter because 
the bees feed on wormwood [3-26] yet it is good 
rubbed on the face for sunburn and spots. 

2-103. MELI PONTIKON 


SUGGESTED: Heraclean Honey 

A t some times (of the year) honey is made in Heraclea 
of Pontus which, from the property of certain 
flowers, makes eaters of it beside themselves with 
sweating, but they are helped by eating rue [3-52, 3-53, 
4-98] and salt meat and drinking mead [honey wine], 
taking these as often as they vomit. It is sharp and the 
smell causes sneezing. Rubbed on with COStum [1-15] it 
heals sunburn, and with salt it takes away bruises. 

2-104. SAKCHARON 

suggested: A rundo saccharifera, Saccharum officinale, 
Bambusa arundinacea — Sugar Reeds 

T here is a kind of coalesced honey called sugar found 
in reeds in India and Arabia the happy, similar in 
consistency to salt and brittle [enough] to be broken 


226 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


between the teeth like salt. It is good dissolved in water 
for the intestines and stomach, and taken as a drink to 
help a painful bladder and kidneys. Rubbed on it 
disperses things which darken the pupils. 

2-105. KEROS 


SUGGESTED: Beeswax 

T he best wax is a pale yellow, somewhat fat, with a 
sweet taste and having the scent as it were of honey, 
yet pure. It is usually either Pontic or Cretan. The next 
best is somewhat white and fat. Wax is made white as 
follows. Cut clean wax into small pieces, put it into a new 
jar and pour on it as much sea water (taken out of the 
deep) as shall be sufficient, and boil it, sprinkling a little 
saltpetre [potassium nitrate] on it. When it has boiled two 
or three times remove the jar, let it cool, take out the calce 
[lime] and scrape off the filth if there is any around it, and 
boil it again, adding more fresh seawater to it. When the 
wax has boiled again (as before) remove the jar from the 
fire, take the bottom of a new little jar (first moistened in 
cold water), let it down gently into the wax, dipping it in a 
little with a soft touch, that a little of it may be taken, and 
that it may be coalesced together separately. Having 
taken it up, pull off the first cake and let down the bottom 
of the jar again, cooling it in water again, and do this until 
you have taken up all the wax. Then pierce the little cakes 
with a linen thread and hang them up at some distance 
from one another. In the daytime set them in the sun, 
sprinkle them every now and then with water, and at 
night set them under the moon until they become 
perfectly white. If anyone wants to make it 
extraordinarily white let him do these things in the same 
way but let him boil it more often. Some, instead of sea 
water taken out of the deep, boil it as previously 
described once or twice in very sharp brine, then 
afterwards they take it out on a thin, round bottle with a 
handle. Afterwards, laying the little round cakes on thick 
grass, they place them in the sun until at last they become 
wonderfully white. They advise to set about this work in 
the spring when the sun both lessens its intensity and 
yields dew, so that the wax does not melt. All wax is 
warming, softening and reasonably filling. It is mixed in 


227 


FATS 


broths for dysentery, and is swallowed down in an 
amount equal to ten grains of millet, as it does not allow 
the milk to curdle in those who suckle [breastfeeding]. 


2-106. PROPOLIS 


SUGGESTED: Bee-glue 


T he yellow bee-glue that has a sweet scent and 
resembles StyrdX [1-79] should be chosen, and which 
is soft, excessively dry, and easy to spread (like mastic 
[1-90]). It is extremely warm and attractive, and draws 
out thorns and splinters. The smoke from it (inhaled) 
helps old coughs, and it is applied to take away lichen 
[skin disease with red pustules]. It is found around the 
mouths of hives, being similar in nature to wax. 



Blepharis edulis 


after FAGUET — 1874 


228 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


FRUMENTACEA: CEREALS 

2-107. PUROI 


suggested: Tritici primum genus, Triticum vulgare [Fuchs] 
Triticum sativum, Triticum aesetivum, Triticum tertium genus 
[Fuchs ], Triticum turegidum [Linnaeus] — Wheat 

[other usage] Pirum, Pyrum, Puroi — Pear Tree [Pliny] 


T he most effective pyrum [wheat] for the preservation 
of health is new, fully ripe and a yellowish colour. 
Then after this is trimestre [called this because it is ripe in 
three months] called by some sitanium, which eaten raw 
breeds worms in the loins [lower torso]. Chewed and 
applied it helps those bitten by a mad dog. Bread made of 
the flour of it is more nourishing than the pan is cibarius 
[from the merchants] but that from the meal of trimestris 
is lighter and quickly distributed. 

Wheat meal is applied as a plaster with juice of 
hyoscyamus [4-69] for discharges of the nerves and puffing 
up of the bowels; with vinegar and honey it takes away 
freckles. Bran boiled with sharp vinegar and applied as a 
warm poultice removes leprosy, and is a convenient 
poultice for all inflammations as they begin. Boiled with a 
decoction of rue it represses swelling breasts, and is good 
for those bitten by vipers, or troubled with griping. The 
fermented dough of the meal (being warming and 
extractive) effectively lessens calluses in the soles of the 
feet. It ripens and opens other protuberances and boils or 
inflammatory tumours with salt. Meal from si tan i an 
wheat is good applied as a poultice with vinegar or wine 
for those bitten by venomous creatures. Boiled like glue 
and taken as linctus [syrup] it helps those who spit blood. 
It is good against coughs and irritations of the arteries 
boiled together with mint and butter. Wheat flour boiled 
with honey and water, or oil mixed with water, dissolves 
any inflammation. Bread (either raw or baked) applied 
with honey and water lessens all inflammation, is very 
softening, and somewhat cooling, mixed with some 
herbs or juices. Both by itself or mixed with other things, 
wheat that is old and dry stops loose bowels. Wheat that 
is new (steeped in brine and applied) cures old lichen 
[papular skin disease]. Glue made either of fine flour or 


229 


FRUMENTACEA: CEREALS 


the finest meal for gluing books, is good for those who 
spit blood, if it is made more liquid and lukewarm and a 
spoonful is sipped up. 

2-108. KRITHE 


suggested: Hordeum polystichum, Hordeum distichum [Fuchs], 
Hordeum distichon [Brunfels, Linnaeus], 

H ordeum tetrastichum [in Sprague] — Two-row Barley 
H ordeum sativum, H ordeum vuigare — Six-row Barley 

see 2-157, Crithmum maritimum 


T he best crithe is is white and clean but it is less 
nourishing than wheat; yet crithe water is more 
nourishing than the polenta that is made of it by reason of 
the cream that comes off it in the boiling. It is good for 
irritations, roughness of the arteries and ulcers. Wheat 
water is also good for these things as it is more nourishing 
and diuretic. It causes an abundance of milk 
[breastfeeding] boiled together with marathrum [3-81] 
seed and sipped. It is urinary, cleansing, flatulent, bad for 
the stomach, and ripens oedema. Meal of it boiled with 
figs, honey and water dissolves oedema and 
inflammation. It digests hard lumps with pitch, rosin and 
doves' dung. It brings ease to those troubled with pain in 
their side with met Hot [3-48] and the heads of poppies. It is 
applied as a poultice with flax seed, fenugreek and rue 
[3-52, 3-53, 4-98] against gaseousness in the intestines. 
With moist pitch, wax, the urine of an uncorrupted child 
and oil it ripens scrofulous tumours [glandular swelling, 
goitres]. With myrtle, wine, wild pears, bramble, or 
pomegranate rinds it stops discharges of the bowels. 
With quinces or vinegar it is good for gouty 
inflammation. Boiled with sharp vinegar (as a poultice 
made of crithe meal) and applied warm it cures leprosy. 
Juice extracted out of the meal with water and boiled 
with pitch and oil is good for discharges of the joints. 
Meal of crithe stops discharges of the bowels and lessens 
inflammation. 


230 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-109. ZUTHOS 


suggested: Zythum, H ordeum sativum, Hordeum vulgare 
[Pliny] — Soured Barley Water, Egyptian Malt Liquor 

Z ythum is made from barley. It is diuretic but hurtful 
to the kidneys and nerves (being especially bad for 
the neural membrane). It is also wind inducing, produces 
bad fluids, and causes leprosy. Ivory steeped in it is made 
fit to work on. 


2-110. KOURMI 


suggested: Hordeum sativum, Hordeum vulgare 
— Fermented Barley Drink 

A drink is made from barley, called curmi, which 
people often drink instead of wine. It causes 
headaches, breeds ill fluids, and hurts the tendons. There 
are similar sorts of drink made from wheat in western 
Iberia and in Brittany. 

2-111. ZEIA 

suggested: Zeaea/terum genus [Fuchs], Zea briza dicta, 

Zea monococcus germanica [Brunfels], Triticum monococcum 
— Small Spelt, Engrain, One-grained Wheat 

Zeaeprimum genus [Fuchs], Zeaedi coccus major [Bauhin] 

T riticum dicoccum — Emmer Wheat, Two-grained Wheat 
T ri ti cu m zea, T ri ti cum speita — Spelt Wheat, Dinkel Wheat 

T here are two kinds of zea — one single and the other 
dicoccous, having the seed joined in two husks. It is 
more nourishing than barley, pleasant-tasting to the 
mouth, but made into bread it is less nourishing than 
wheat. 


231 


FRUMENTACEA: CEREALS 


2-112. KRIMNON 


suggested: Triticum zea,Triticum spelta — Spelt Wheat, 
Dinkel Wheat 

T riticum dicoccum — Emmer Wheat, Two-grained Wheat 
Triticum vuigare, Triticum sativum, Triticum aesetivum 
— Wheat 

C rimnum from which porridge is made is the coarsest 
meal that is made from zea and wheat. It is 
abundantly nourishing and easy to digest, but that from 
zea is more astringent to the bowels, especially dried by 
the fire beforehand. 

2-113. OLURA 


suggested: Oiyra, Spelta, Triticum romanum [Bedevian] 

O lyra [grain] is very similar to zea but somewhat less 
nourishing. It is also made into bread and crimnum 
[porridge] is similarly made of it. 

2-114. ATHERA 

suggested: Triticum zea, Triticum spelta — Alica, 

Spelt Wheat, Dinkel Wheat 

T riticum dicoccum — Emmer Wheat, Two-grained Wheat 

A t her a is made of zea ground very small. It is a spoon- 
meal (similar to liquid porridge) suitable for 
children, and it is good in plasters. 

2-115. TRAGOS 

suggested: Tragus berteronianus — Carrot Seed Grass 

T ragus is somewhat similar in shape to chondrus 
[below] but is much less nourishing than zea [above] 
because it has much chaff. As a result it is hard to digest 
and softens the bowels. 


232 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



233 


FRUMENTACEA: CEREALS 



234 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-116. BROMOS 


suggested: A vena [Fuchs], Avena vulgaris [Bauhin] 
A vena sativa var [3 [Linnaeus] — Oats 


[other usage] Bromus arvensis — Corn Brome Grass 
Bromus temulentus, Lolium temulentum, Crepolea temulentum 
— Darnel, Cheat, Ryegrass, Ivray 

NARCOTIC 


see 4-140 


B romus is a grass similar to wheat in the leaves, 
distinguished by knots, and it has fruit on the top (as 
it were, two-footed little locusts) in which is the seed, as 
effective for poultices as barley. Porridge is also made 
from it for binding the intestines. Cream of bromus is 
sipped to help those troubled with a cough. 

2-117. ORUZA 

suggested: Oryza sativa — Rice 

O ryza is a kind of grass growing in marshy and moist 
places, moderately nourishing and binding to the 
bowels. 


2-118. CHONDROS 


suggested -.Triticum zea,Triticum spelta — Spelt Wheat, 
Dinkel Wheat 

T riticum dicoccum — Emmer Wheat, Two-grained Wheat 

C hon dr us is made of grain called zea dicoccos, more 
nourishing than rice, and more binding to the 
intestines, but far better for the stomach. Boiled with 
vinegar it takes away leprosy; and rubbed on it drives 
away pitted nails, cures aegilopses [ulcer or fistula in the 
inner angle of the eye] that are new, and a decoction of it 
is a fit suppository for those who have dysentery with 
much pain. 



0 ryza sativa 

after FAGUET — 1892 




235 


FRUMENTACEA: CEREALS 


2-119. KENCHROS 


suggested: M ilium [Fuchs], Panicum chrus-galli, 
Echinochloa chrus-galli, Oplismenus chrus-galli 
— Small Millet, Barnyard Grass, Cockspur Panicum 
Panicum miliaceum [Linnaeus] — Millet, Panic Millet 
Setaria italica, C haetochloa italica — Italian Millet 
[other usage] Cenchrus lappaceus — Bur Cenchrus 



enchrus (which the Romans call millet) is less 


nourishing than other grains, but made into bread 
(or used as porridge) it stops discharges of the intestines 
and induces the passing of urine. Heated and put warm 
into bags [as a hot pad] it helps griping and other 
disorders. 


2-120. ELUMOS 


suggested: Panicum [Fuchs], Setaria italica [in Sprague] 
[other usage] Lyme Grass, Marram, Mat Grass 
— Elymus arenarius 

E lymus is of grain seeds similar to millet which are 
made into meal in the same way, and are effective for 
the same uses, yet are less nourishing than m i llet and less 
astringent. The Romans call it panicum, and others call it 
melinen. 


2-121. SESAMON 


suggested: Sesamum indicum, Sesamum orientale, 
Sesamum oleiferum — Sesame seeds, Gingelly, Gingili 

S esamum is hurtful to the stomach and causes a 
stinking breath in the mouth, if after it is eaten it 
remains between the teeth. Applied it disperses 
thicknesses in the nerves. It heals fractures, inflammation 
in the ears, burns, disorders of the colon, and the bites of 
the horned viper. With rosaceum [1-53] it eases headaches 
caused by heat. The herb boiled in wine does the same. It 
is especially good for inflammation and sores of the eyes. 
Oil is made [from the seeds] of it that the Egyptians use. 


236 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



237 


FRUMENTACEA: CEREALS 


: 4 Afparagus altilis* 

K'icymtfd) Sparge ft* 



238 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-122. AIRA 

suggested: Lolium [Fuchs], Lychnis segetum major [Bauhin], 
Agrostemma githago [Linnaeus] — Com Cockle 

[other usage] M olinia caerulea, A ira coerulea 
— Purple Molinia, Lavender Grass, Blawing Grass 

see 2-116 


A ira (which grows among wheat) ground up has the 
power to remove the edges from nomae [grazer 
disease, eats away muscle, tissue and bones], rotten 
ulcers, and gangrene, applied as a poultice with radishes 
and salt. With natural sulphur and vinegar it cures wild 
lichenae [skin disease] and leprosy. Boiled in wine with 
pigeons' dung and flaxseed it dissolves scrofulous 
tumours [glandular swelling, goitres], and breaks open 
swellings that are hard to ripen. Boiled with honey and 
water and applied as a poultice it is good for those with 
sciatica. The smoke inhaled with polenta, myrrh [1-77, 
1-73, 4-116], saffron, or frankincense helps conception. 
The Romans call it lolium, and it is also called thyaron. 

2-123. AMULON 

SUGGESTED: Starch, Amyl 

A myl is called this because it is made without the help 
of a m i l l . The best is made of that wheat which 
ripens in three months and grows in Crete or Egypt. It is 
made from this clean three-months wheat [sitanium or 
trimestre ] being steeped in water five times a day, and if it 
is possible in the night too. When it has become soft you 
must pour out the water gently without jogging so that 
the best starch is not poured out together with it. When it 
appears to be very soft (having poured out the water) it 
must be trod with the feet, and having poured in (other) 
water again it must be pounded. Then the bran that lies 
underneath must be taken away with a skimmer, and 
that which is left must be strained, and after it is strained 
you are to dry it on new tiles in a very warm sun, for if it 
remains moist even a little it presently grows sour. It is 
effective against discharges of the eyes, hollow ulcers and 
pustules. Taken in a drink it stops the throwing-up of 


239 


FRUMENTACEA: CEREALS 


blood, as well as disorders of the arteries. It is mixed with 
milk and sauces. Starch is also made from zed [Triticum 
zed ] that is steeped for one or two days, kneaded with the 
hands like dough, and dried in a very hot sun (as has 
been formerly described). This is not fit for bodily use but 
for other uses it is fit enough. 



240 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



241 


FRUMENTACEA: CEREALS 


2)i Milium* 



242 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 

2-124. TELEOS ALEURON, TELIS 

suggested: Foenograecum, Foenumgraecum [Fuchs], 
Foenumgraecum sativum [Bauhin], 

Trigonella foenum-graecum [Linnaeus] — Fenugreek 

T el is [flour of fenugreek] and meal of fenugreek are 
softening and dispersing. Pounded into small pieces 
with boiled honey and water and applied as a poultice, it 
is good for both inner and outer inflammation. Pounded 
into small pieces and applied as a plaster with saltpetre 
[potassium nitrate] and vinegar it reduces the spleen. A 
decoction of it is a bath for women's problems caused 
either from inflammation or closure (of the vulva). The 
cream of it (boiled in water and strained out) cleans hair, 
dandruff and scaly eruptions on the scalp. It is inserted 
instead of a pessary with goose grease, softening and 
dilating the places about the womb. With vinegar the 
green leaves are good for weak and ulcerated places. A 
decoction is used for ineffective straining at stools or 
urination, and for stinking loose bowels from dysentery. 
The oil (with myrtle) cleans hair and scars in the private 
parts. 

It is also called carpon, buceras, aegoceras, ceraitis , or 
lotos, the Latins call it foenumgraecum, and the Egyptians, 
itasin. 


2-125. LINON 

SUGGESTED: Linum sativum [Bauhin], 

Linum usitatissimum — Flax 

L inum [flax] is commonly known. The seed (boiled 
with honey and oil and a little water, or taken in 
boiled honey) has the same strength as fenugreek, 
dispersing and softening all inflammation inwardly and 
outwardly. Used raw (applied as a plaster with saltpetre 
[potassium nitrate] and figs) it takes away sunburn and 
varicose veins. With lye it disperses inflammation of the 
parotid gland and hard lumps. Boiled with wine it cleans 
away herpes [viral skin infection] and favus [contagious 


243 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


skin disease]. It takes off pitted nails, taken with an equal 
amount of nasturtium [2-185] and honey. Taken with 
honey instead of syrup, it brings up things from the chest 
and it relieves coughs. Mixed with honey and pepper 
into a flat cake and eaten, it encourages the pursuit of 
sexual pleasure [aphrodisiac]. A decoction is given as a 
suppository for ulcers of the bowels and womb, as well as 
for expelling excrement; and it is very good (like a 
decoction of fenugreek) used as a hip bath for 
inflammation of the womb. It is also called Unocal amis, 
anion, or linon agrion ; the Romans call it linomyrum, and 
the Africans, zer aphis. 


2 - 126 . EREBINTHOS 


suggested: Cicer nigrum [Fuchs], Cicer sativum [Bauhin] 
Cicer arietinum [Linnaeus] — Chick-pea, Gram 

A stragalus cicer, Phaca cicer — Mountain Chickpea, Vetch 


Erebus — God of the Underworld 



icer that is set or sown is agreeable to the stomach. 


diuretic, causes winds and a good colour all around, 
expels the menstrual flow, is an abortifacient, and 
encourages milk. It is applied as a poultice (especially 
boiled with ervum [2-129, 2-131]) for inflammation from 
stones [urinary, kidney], protruding warts, scabs, 
running ulcers of the head, and for lichenae [skin disease], 
and cancerous malignant ulcers with barley and honey. 
The other type is called arietinus and both of them are 
diuretic, a decoction being given with libanotis 
[medicated drinks] for yellow jaundice and dropsy; but 
they hurt an ulcerated bladder and the kidneys. Some 
touch the top of every wart with a cicer when the moon is 
new, some with one, some with another, bind them up in 
a linen cloth and command them to be put backward, as 
though the warts would fall away by these means. There 
is also a wild cicer with leaves similar to that which is set 
or sown, sharp in smell but different in the seed, 
serviceable for the same uses as the set plants. 


244 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Nelumbonudfera 
after FAGUET — 1888 


245 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


210 Faba uuTga ris* 

iSemcin £oncn. 



246 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-127. KUAMOS HELLENIKOS 


SUGGESTED: Fate, Fate vulgaris [Fuchs] 

V icia faba [Linnaeus] — Broad Bean 

Cyamus, Cyamos, Colocasia [Pliny] — Egyptian Bean 

see 2-197, 2-128 


C yamus. The Greek bean is windy, flatulent, hard to 
digest, and causes troublesome dreams. Yet it is 
good for coughs and gaining body weight, as it is in the 
midst of hot and cold. Boiled with vinegar and honey and 
eaten with the husks it stops dysentery and discharges of 
the coeliac [intestinal complaints]; and eaten it is good 
against vomiting. It is made less flatulent if the first water 
in which it was boiled is thrown away. Green [raw] beans 
are worse for the stomach and more wind inducing. Meal 
from the bean (applied as a poultice either by itself or 
with polenta) lessens inflammation from a stroke, makes 
scars all one colour, helps swollen inflamed breasts, and 
dries up milk. With honey and meal of fenugreek it 
dissolves boils or inflammatory tumours, parotid 
tumours, and blueness under the eyes. With roses, 
frankincense and the white of an egg it represses the 
falling-forwards of the eyes. Staphylomata [inflammatory 
protrusion of the cornea] and oedema. Kneaded with 
wine it helps excessive liquids and blows to the eyes. 
Chewed without the husks, it is applied to the forehead 
as a coolant for discharges. Boiled in wine it cures the 
inflammation of stones [urinary, kidney]. Applied as a 
poultice to the place where the pubic hair grows in 
children, it keeps them hairless for a long time. It cleans 
vitiligines [form of leprosy]. If the husks are applied as a 
poultice it makes hair that has been plucked grow out 
emaciated and thin. Applied with polenta, alumen [5-123] 
and old oil it dissolves scrofulous tumours [glandular 
swelling], A decoction of it dyes wool. It is applied to 
discharges of blood caused by leeches, shelled and 
divided in two parts as it grew. The cut half closely 
pressed on suppresses it. 


247 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


2-128. KUAMOS AIGUPTIOS 


suggested: N el u mbi um speciosum, N el umbo nucifera, 
Nelumbium nelumbo, Nymphaea nelumbo, Nelumbo nucifera 
— Nelumbo, East Indian Lotus, Sacred Bean, 
Egyptian Bean, Pythagorean Bean, Seed of the Lotus 

see 2-127 


T he Egyptian bean (which some call pontican) grows 
abundantly in Egypt, Asia and Cilicia, and is found in 
marshy places. It has a leaf as great as a hat, a stalk the 
height of a foot, about the thickness of a finger. The 
flower is a rose colour, twice as big as the flower of a 
poppy. Having done blowing it bears pods similar to little 
bags, in each of which is a little bean (standing out above 
the covering) similar to a little bladder. It is called ciborium 
or cibotium (as we should say, loculamentum) because the 
setting of the bean is made when it is put in moist land 
and so left in the water. The root is thicker than that of the 
reed and lies underneath. This is used either boiled or 
raw and is called collocasia. The bean itself is also eaten 
green, but when dry it grows black and is bigger than the 
Greek one, astringent, and good for the stomach. As a 
result the meal that is made from them, sprinkled on 
instead of polenta, is good for dysentery and the 
abdominal cavity, and it is given as a porridge. The husks 
work better boiled in mu I sum [honey, water and wine] 
and three cupfuls of it given to drink. The green in the 
middle of them is bitter to taste, and good for earache, 
pounded into small pieces, boiled with rosaceum [1-53] 
and dropped in the ears. 

2-129. PHAKOS 


SUGGESTED: Lens [Fuchs], Lens vulgaris [Bauhin], 

Ervum lens [Linnaeus], Lens esculenta, Lens culinaris — Lentils 

see 2-131 


P haca (which the Latins call lens or lentils) is frequently 
eaten. It is dulling to the sight, hard to digest, 
worthless for the stomach, puffs up the stomach and 
intestines with wind, but is therapeutic for the intestines 
if eaten with the husks. The best is easily digested and 


248 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Lens* 4 97 

Jlmferu 



249 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


Fanumgracunu 

Boc^oin- 


4^1 



250 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


leaves nothing black when steeping it. It is astringent; as 
a result it is therapeutic for the bowels, if the husks are 
taken away first, and it is well boiled. The first water in 
which it is boiled is thrown away as the first boiling is 
laxative to the bowels. It causes troublesome dreams and 
is bad for sinewy parts, the lungs and the head. It will do 
its proper work better against discharges of the bowels if 
it is mixed with vinegar, in tubus [endive], purslane, black 
beet, myrtle berries, pomegranate rinds, dry roses, 
medlars, service fruit, Theban pears, dates, the fruit of 
coton ea [1-160], chicory, plantain, whole galls [oak galls] 
(which are thrown away after they are boiled), or rhoe 
[4-64] which is sprinkled on meats. The vinegar must be 
carefully boiled with it otherwise it troubles the bowels. 
Thirty grains of lentils (pilled and swallowed) help a 
churning stomach. Boiled and re-boiled with polenta and 
applied, it lessens gout. With honey it joins together the 
hollowness of sores, breaks the scabs of ulcers and cleans 
them. Boiled with vinegar it disperses hard lumps and 
scrofulous tumours [glandular swelling, goitres]. With 
met Hot [3-48] or the fruit of coton ea (and rosaceum [1-53] 
mixed with it all) it heals inflammation of the eyes and 
the perineum. For a worse inflammation of the perineum 
and large hollow sores, it is boiled with pomegranate 
rinds or dry roses as well as honey. It is good with 
seawater for ulcers of the cheek that have become 
gangrenous. It is good taken as previously described for 
shingles [herpes], pustules, erysipela [streptococcal skin 
infection] and chilblains. Boiled in seawater and applied 
it helps swollen breasts and curdling milk in women's 
breasts. 


251 



LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


2-130. PHASIOLOS 

suggested: Phasiolus, Isopyron, Isopyrum, Phaseolites, 
Phaseolus, Phasel [Pliny], Phaseolus lunatus [Linnaeus in 
Mabberley] — Pulses 

[other usage] Phaseolus vulgaris, Phaseolus coccineus 
— French Beans, Kidney Beans, Scarlet Runner Beans, 
Haricot Beans 

see 4-121, 2-176 


P hasiolus is flatulent, stirs up wind, and is hard to 
digest. Boiled green and eaten, it softens the bowels 
but is apt to make one vomit. 

2-131. OROBOS 

suggested: Ervum sativum, Ervum album sativum [Fuchs] 
Lathyris sativus [Bauhin, Linnaeus], Ervum sylvestre, 
Lathyris sylvestris [in Sprague] — Indian Pea, Riga Pea, 

Dogtooth Pea [Mabberley] causes motorneurone disease 


[other usage] Orobus tuberosus — Orobe, Bitter Vetch 

O robos (which the Latins call ervum ) is a little well- 
known shrub with narrow thin leaves, bearing little 
seeds in the husks from which a meal is made called 
ervina that is fit for bodily uses. If it is eaten it annoys the 
head, troubles the bowels, and brings out blood through 
the urine. It fattens beasts if it is boiled and given to them. 
Ervina flour is made as follows. Select the fullest and 
whitest seeds, sprinkle them with water and stir them 
together. When you have allowed them to absorb 
enough water, dry them until their husks are quite 
broken. Then grind them, sift them through a fine sieve 
and put the flour in storage. It is good for the bowels, 
diuretic, and causes a good colour. Taken excessively 
either in meat or drink it brings out blood through the 
intestines and bladder (with suffering). With honey it 
cleans ulcers, freckles, sunburn, spots, and the rest of the 
body. It stops ulcers of the cheeks, scleroma [hardened 
nasal or laryngeal tissue patches], and gangrene. It 
softens hard lumps in the breasts, and emarginates 
[removes the edge of] wild boils, carbuncles [infected 


252 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



253 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 



Cicer arietinum 
after FAGUET — 1888 


i 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


boils] [malignant skin tumours] and favus [contagious 
skin disease]. Kneaded with wine and applied it cures the 
bites of dogs, bites of men, and of vipers; with vinegar it 
lessens painful frequent urination, griping, and 
ineffective straining at stool or urination. Toasted and 
taken with honey (in the amount of a nut) it is good for 
those whose meat does not nourish them. A decoction 
applied with hot cloths cures chilblains and itchiness on 
the body. 


2-132. THERMOS EMEROS 


suggested: Lupinus albus [Fuchs, Linnaeus], Lupinus termis 
— Egyptian Lupin, Termus 

T hermus which is sown is commonly known. The meal 
of it taken as a linctus [syrup] with honey (or as a 
drink with vinegar) expels worms; and the lupins 
themselves steeped and eaten bitter does the same, as 
well as a decoction of them taken as a drink with rue 
[3-52, 3-53, 4-98] and pepper. This also helps the splenetic. 
It is good as a warm pack for gangrene, wild ulcers, scabs 
that are new, vitiligines [type of leprosy], spots, rashes 
such as measles, and running ulcers on the head. The 
same given in a pessary with myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] and 
honey extracts the menstrual flow and is an abortifacient. 
The meal cleans the skin and its bruises, and with polenta 
and water it lessens inflammation. With vinegar it lessens 
the pains of sciatica and swellings. Boiled in vinegar and 
applied as a poultice it induces passing of scrofulous 
tumours [glandular swelling, goitres] out of their place, 
and breaks carbuncles [infected boils] [malignant skin 
tumours] all around. Lupines (boiled with rain water 
until they cream) clear the face, and boiled with the root 
of black chamaeleon [3-11] they cure scabs on sheep 
[veterinary] that are washed with a lukewarm decoction 
of it. The root boiled with water and taken as a drink 
expels urine. The lupines themselves sweetened, 
pounded into small pieces and taken as a drink with 
vinegar soothe a nauseous stomach and cure lack of 
appetite. The Latins call it lupinus, the Egyptians, brechu. 


255 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


2-133. THERMOS AGRIOS 


SUGGESTED: LupinuS angustifolius — Wild Lupin 

T here is a wild lupin that the Latins call lupin US 
agrestis, similar to that which is sown, yet it is in 
every way less effective for the same purposes than the 
sown lupin. 


2-134. GONGULIS 


suggested: Rapum sativum, Rapum sativum album [Fuchs], 
Gongulis [Latin], Brassica rapa — Rape, Common Turnip 

Brassica napus — Naphew, Nape, Winter Rape, Swede 

T he boiled root of gongule is nourishing yet very 
windy. It breeds moist loose flesh and encourages 
sexual appetite [aphrodisiac]. A decoction makes a warm 
pack for gout and chilblains. Used alone, pounded into 
small pieces and applied, it is good for the same things 
too. If anyone makes the root hollow and melts a waxy 
ointment of oil of roses in there in hot ashes, this is 
effective for ulcerated chilblains. The tender tops are 
eaten boiled and they encourage urine [diuretic]. The 
seed is good in antidotes and treacles that stop pain. 
Taken as a drink it is good against deadly medicines 
[antidote] and encourages sexual activity [aphrodisiac]. 
Rapum pickled in brine and eaten is less nourishing, yet it 
restores the appetite. It is also called gongilida, or 
golgosium ; the Romans call it rapum. 

2-135. GONGOLE AGRIOE 

suggested: Rapum sylvestre, N apus-Bunias sylvestris [Fuchs 
Plate #99], Barbarea vulgaris — Winter Cress, Yellow Rocket 

Rapunculus esculentis [Bauhin ], Campanula rapunculus 
[Linnaeus] — Rampion [Mabberley] 

T he wild rapum grows in fields, a shrub of two feet 
high, bearing many boughs, smooth on the top; [the 
root] is the thickness of a finger or more. It bears seed in 
husks similar to cups. When the coverings that contain 


256 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


98 Napus Bnmas fatiuus* 

ucfeit Qtccfrubcn. 



257 



LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


Napus Bunias fylueftris* 
0tecfruben, 



258 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


the seeds are opened there is another husk within 
(similar to a head) in which are little black seeds. When 
these are broken they are white within. They are put into 
sebaceous treatments for clearing the face and other parts 
of the body, such as those made from the meal of lupins 
[2-132], wheat, lolium [2-116, 4-140], or ervum [2-129, 
2-131], 


2-136. BO UNI AS 

suggested: Napus-Bunias sativas [Fuchs Plate #98], 
Brassica campestris var rapa [Linnaeus], Bar bar ea praecox 
— Land Cress 

[other usage] B uni as cakile, Cakilemaritima 
— Common Sea Rocket 

B uni as erucago, B uni as aspera, B uni as oriental is — Bunias 

B uni as and its root (boiled) is wind-inducing and less 
nourishing. The seed (taken in a drink beforehand) 
makes poisons ineffective. It is mixed with antidotes and 
the root is preserved in salt. 

2-137. RAPHANIS 


suggested: Raphanus sativus, Radix, Radicula [Fuchs, Brunfels, 
Linnaeus] — Common Cultivated Radish 

R adish also breeds wind and heats. It is welcome to 
the mouth but not good for the stomach; besides, it 
causes belching and is diuretic. It is good for the 
intestines if one takes it after meat, helping digestion 
more, but eaten beforehand it suspends the meat. Thus it 
is good for those who desire to vomit to eat it before meat. 
It also sharpens the senses. Boiled and taken it is good for 
those who have had a cough for a long time, and who 
breed thick phlegm in their chests. The skin (taken with 
vinegar and honey) is stronger to make one vomit, and 
good for dropsy. Applied as a poultice it is good for the 
splenetic. With honey it stops gangrenous ulceration of 
the cheeks, and takes away black and blue marks under 
the eyes. It helps those bitten by vipers, and thickens hair 
lost from alopecia. With meal of lolium [2-116, 4-140] it 
takes off freckles. Eaten or taken in a drink it helps those 
strangled from eating mushrooms, and drives down the 


259 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


menstrual flow. Taken as a drink with vinegar the seed 
causes internal ulcers, is diuretic, and reduces the spleen. 
Boiled with warm vinegar and honey it serves as a gargle 
to help tonsillitis. Taken as a drink with wine it helps bites 
from a horned viper; and smeared on with vinegar it 
emarginates [removes the edge of] gangrene powerfully. 
It is also called polyides eryngium, the Latins call it radix 
nostratis, and the Africans call it thorpath. 

2-138. RAPHANOS AGRIA 

suggested: Raphanis sylvestris, Armoracia [Fuchs], 
Raphanus rusticanus [Bauhin], Cochlearia armoracia [Linnaeus], 
Nasturtium armoracia , Roripa armoracia, R adieu la armoracia 
A rmoracia rusticana — Common Horseradish 

T he wild radish (which the Romans call armoracia) has 
leaves similar to that which is sown, or rather more 
similar to those of lampsana. The root is slender, soft, and 
somewhat sharp; both the leaves and root are boiled 
instead of vegetables. It is warming, diuretic and 
burning. 

2-139. SISARON 


suggested: Pastinaca sativa [Linnaeus] 

Sisarum sativum magnum, Sisarum sativum minus [Fuchs], 
Pastinaca sativa lad folia, Sisarum German orum [Bauhin], 
Siser, Sisarum, Sium sisarum [Linnaeus, Bedevian], 
Pastinaca sylvestris lad folia, Pastinaca sativa [in Sprague] 

— Skirret, Water Parsnip 

S iser is commonly known. The root (eaten boiled) is 
pleasing to the taste and effective for the stomach. It is 
diuretic and stirs up the appetite. 


260 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Brafsicae primum genus* 233 
23 :eyter %&l. 



261 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


Brafsioe fecundum genus, 
Sraufcr % JL 




262 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-140. LAPATHON 


suggested: 0 xylapathum, Lapatium acutum [Fuchs], 
Rumex obtusifolius [Linnaeus], Lapathum aquaticum 
— Water Sorrel, Water Dock 

Oxalis, A cetosa [Fuchs], A cetosa pratensis [Bauhin], 

Rumex ac&osa [Linnaeus] — Dock, Sorrel [Mabberley] 

L apathum (one sort of it is called oxylapathum) grows in 
marshy places. It is hard and somewhat pointed 
towards the top, but that in the garden is not similar to 
the other. There is a third kind that is wild, small, similar 
to plantain, soft, low. There is also a fourth kind called 
oxalis, anaxuris, or lapathum, whose leaves are similar to 
the wild small lapathum ; the stalk is not great; the seed is 
pointed, red, and sharp on the stalk and the branches. 
The herbs of all of these (boiled) soothe the intestines. 
Applied raw as a poultice with rosaceum [1-53] or saffron it 
dissolves the me/icerides [encysted tumour with 
exudation like honey]. The seed of the wild lapathum, 
oxylapathum and oxalis is effective (taken in a drink of 
water or wine) for dysentery, abdominal afflictions, a 
scorpion strike, and a nauseous stomach. If anyone 
drinks it beforehand he shall have no hurt when struck 
(by a scorpion). The roots of these boiled with vinegar (or 
used raw and applied as a poultice) cures leprosy, 
impetigo [skin infection] and rough nails, but you must 
first thoroughly rub the place in the sun with nitre 
[potassium nitrate — saltpetre] or vinegar. A decoction of 
sorrel applied with hot cloths or mixed with a bath 
relieves itchiness. It lessens earache and toothache used 
as a rinse with liquid from sorrel boiled in wine. Boiled in 
wine and applied, they dissolve scrofulous tumours 
[glandular swelling], goitres, and swollen parotid glands. 
A decoction boiled in vinegar lessens the spleen. Some 
use the roots as an amulet (hanging them around the 
neck) for goitre. Pounded into small pieces and applied, 
they also stop women's flows. Boiled with wine and 
taken as a drink they help jaundice, break stones in the 
bladder, draw out the menstrual flow, and help those 
touched by scorpions. 


263 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


2-141. HIPPOLAPATHON 

suggested: Rumicis secundum genus, 

Rhabarabum monarchorum [Fuchs], H ippolapathum iati folium 
[Bauhin], R umex alpinus [Linnaeus], R umex hydrolapathum 
— Water Dock, Horse Sorrel 

H ippolapathum is a great olus [one that is well known] 
growing in marshes. It has the same properties as 
those mentioned above. 

2-142. LAMPSANE 

suggested: Lampsana communis, Lapsana communis 
— Common Nipplewort 

L ampsana is a wild olus [one that is well known], more 
nourishing and more agreeable to the stomach than 
lapathum, whose stalks and leaves are eaten boiled 
[vegetable]. The Latins call it napium [wood nymph], and 
the Egyptians, euthmoe. 

2-143. BLITON 


suggested: Blitum [Fuchs], Bliti genus, 
Chenopodium polyspermum [Linnaeus], A maranthus blitum, 

A Ibersia blitum — Blite, Wild Amaranth 

[other usage] Blitum virgatum — Strawberry Spinach 

B litum is also eaten as a vegetable, having no use 
medicinally. The Egyptians call it eclotoripam, others, 
rip! am, the Latins, blitum, and the Dacians, bles. 


264 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Sifarum fatfuum magnum, 43 
©jog j*m VTCo:m. 

&>& srA wm* 



/.Vo?' ! V; s 


l'C\ viA'/S Vf \ Vv s 


■' ro 1 v / i V5 / \ ' ^ / 

HI J|K5fh 



265 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


RumiVis tcrthnn genus* 
<B utcr Scinvid). 


ZCl 



266 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-144. MALACHE AGRIA, MALACHE 
KEPAIA 


suggested: M alva hortensis, M alva sylvestris pumila [Fuchs], 

A Icea rosea, M alva rotundi folia, M alva sylvestris [Linnaeus], 
Althea rosea [in Sprague] — Common Mallow 

[other usage] M alache [Bedevian] — Wild Ochra 
H ibiscus esculentis, A belmoschus esculentis 
— Okra, Gombo, Gobbo 

M ai ache that is sown is more fit to be eaten than the 
wild. It is bad for the stomach and good for the 
bowels, especially the stalks, which are effective for the 
intestines and bladder. The raw leaves (chewed with a 
little salt and rubbed on with honey) are able to cure an 
ulcer in the inner angle of the eye, but when it must be 
brought to a scar then it must be used with salt. Rubbed 
on it is effective for bee and wasp stings, and if a man is 
rubbed with it beforehand (raw, pounded finely with oil) 
he remains unstrikable. Applied with urine it cures 
running sores on the head and dandruff. The boiled 
leaves pounded into small pieces and applied with oil 
help burns and erysipela [streptococcal skin infection], A 
decoction of it is a softening bath for the womb, and is fit 
in suppositories for pangs of hunger in the intestines, for 
the womb, and for the perineum. The broth boiled 
together with the roots helps all poisonings, but those 
who drink it must continuously vomit it up. It is good for 
those bitten by harvest spiders, and it brings out milk. 
The seed of the wild lotus is mixed with it and taken as a 
drink with wine to lessen disorders of the bladder. The 
Latins call it hortensis [of the garden], Pythagoras calls it 
anthema, Zoroastrians, diadesma, the Egyptians, chocorten, 
the Magi, caprae lien, and others, muris cauda. 

2-145. ATRAPHAXIS 


SUGGESTED: A triplex hortensis [Fuchs, Linnaeus], 

A triplex hortensis alba [Bauhin], Chenopodium album [Linnaeus] 
— Goosefoot, Fat Hen 

[other usage] A traphaxis spinosa — Prickly Atraphaxis 

A traphaxis [atra — black, phaxis — hair] is a well- 
known vegetable of two types — one wild, the other 


267 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


sown in gardens. The latter is eaten boiled as a vegetable. 
Smeared on either raw or boiled it dissolves 
inflammation in bones. The seed (taken in a drink with 
honey and water) cures jaundice. It is also called 
chrysolachanon, the Latins call it atriplex, and the 
Egyptians, ochi. 

2-146. KRAMBE EMEROS 


suggested: Brassica tertium genus, Crambe [Fuchs] — Kale 
Gossularia simplici acino, Spinosa sylvestris [Bauhin], 
Brassica napus [Linnaeus] — Rape 

C rambe that is sown or set is good for the bowels. It is 
eaten slightly boiled, for when thoroughly boiled it 
is therapeutic for the intestines, and more so that which is 
twice boiled or boiled in lye. Summer crambe is worthless 
for the stomach and sharper, and that which grows in 
Egypt is inedible in its bitterness. Eaten, it helps the dull- 
sighted and those troubled with trembling. Taken after 
meat it extinguishes the maladies that come from 
gluttony and wine [hangovers]. The young tendrils are 
better for the stomach yet sharper and more diuretic. 
Preserved in salt it is bad for the stomach and troubles the 
intestines. The juice (taken raw and swallowed with iris 
and saltpetre [potassium nitrate]) softens the intestines. 
Taken in a drink with wine it helps those bitten by a 
viper. With the meal of fenugreek and vinegar it helps 
those with gout in their feet and joints, and applied it is 
good for foul or old ulcers. Poured into the nostrils by 
itself it purges the head. Taken as a pessary with meal of 
lolium [2-116, 4-140] it expels the menstrual flow. The 
leaves pounded into small pieces and applied (either 
alone or with polenta) are good for any inflammation and 
oedema. They also heal erysipela [streptococcal skin 
infection], epinyctides [pustules which appear at night] 
and psoriasis. With salt they break carbuncles [infected 
boils] [malignant skin tumours] all around. They stop 
hair from falling out of the head. Boiled and mixed with 
honey they are good against erosive gangrenes. Eaten 
raw with vinegar they are good for the splenetic. Chewed 
and the juice swallowed down they restore the loss of the 
voice. A decoction (taken as a drink) induces movement 
of the bowels and the menstrual flow. The flower applied 


268 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Oxalis* 
@atx>: 2!mpjfer* 


16 } 



269 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


11 


Plantago media* 

25zeyter tPccjnc^. 



Plantago media 
from FUCHS — 1545 


270 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


in a pessary after childbirth hinders conception. The 
seed, especially of cabbage that grows in Egypt, (taken as 
a drink) expels worms. It is put into antidotes for the bites 
of poisonous snakes. 

It clears the skin on the face and cleans away freckles. 
The green stalks burnt together with the roots are mixed 
with old swines' grease and applied to lessen long-lasting 
pains in the side. It is also called crambe cepaea, i.e. garden 
brassi ca, while the Latins call it brassica. 


2-147. KRAMBE AGRIA 

SUGGESTED: Brassica oleracea — Wild Kale [Mabberley] 

W ild crambe (which the Latins call brassica rustica) 
grows most commonly in steep coastal places. It is 
similar to that which is sown but is whiter, rougher and 
bitter. The young tendrils boiled in lye are not unsavoury 
in the mouth. The leaves applied as a poultice are able to 
seal wounds, and dissolve oedema and inflammation. 

2-148. KRAMBE THALASSIA 


suggested: Crambe maritima — Sea Kale, Sea Cabbage 

T hat which is called sea crambe is altogether different 
from the cultivated, with many thin leaves similar to 
the round aristolochia. Every one of them springs from 
reddish branches out of one stalk (similar to cissus). It has 
white juice but not in any great abundance. It is salty to 
the taste and somewhat bitter with a fatty substance. The 
whole herb is an enemy to the stomach, sharp, and eaten 
boiled excessively loosening to the bowels. Some 
(because of its sharpness) boil it together with fat from 
rams. 



Brassica oleracea 
after FAGUET — 1888 


271 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


2-149. TEUTLON MELAN AGRION 


suggested: Beta Candida [Fuchs], Beta alba, 

Cicla officinarum [Bauhin], Beta vulgaris — White Beet, 
Swiss Chard 

Beta nigra [Fuchs], Beta rubra vulgaris [Bauhin] — Beetroot 

T here are two types of great teutlon. The black are 
more astringent for the stomach boiled with lens 
[lentils] (especially the root), but the white are good for 
the intestines. They both have bad juice because of the 
saltpetre [potassium nitrate] in them. As a result, the juice 
put into the nostrils with honey purges the head and 
helps earache. A decoction of the roots and leaves applied 
with hot cloths cleanses dandruff and the tendes [loins 
(digestive or procreative) and buttocks], and soothes 
chilblains. You must rub vitiligines [form of leprosy] and 
erosive ulcers with the raw leaves and nitre [saltpetre], as 
well as the the scalp for loss of hair on the head but first 
shave it. Boiled, they heal rashes such as measles, as well 
as burns and erysipela [streptococcal skin infection]. The 
Latins call it beta silvatica. 

2-150. ANDRACHNE 


suggested: Portulaca hortensis [Fuchs], Portulaca latifolia, 
Portulaca sativa [Bauhin], Portulaca oleracea [Linnaeus], 
Peplo [Italian], Portulaca oleracea var sativa 
— Garden Purslane 

[other usage] Andrachnetelephoides — False Orpine 
A rbutus andrachne — Greek Strawberry Tree 

A , ndrachne is astringent. Applied with polenta it helps 
headaches, inflammation of the eyes, other 
(inflammations), burning of the stomach, erysipela 
[streptococcal skin infection], and disorders of the 
bladder. Eaten, it lessens numbness of the teeth, burning 
of the stomach and intestines and their excessive 
discharges, helps eroded kidneys and the bladder, and 
dissolves the hot desire to sexual union [anaphrodisiac]. 
Taken as a drink the juice has similar effects, and is good 
in burning fevers. Boiled very well (it is good) for worms 
[roundworms in the intestines], the spitting of blood. 


272 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Plantago minor, 23 

©p itjiger OPegridJ. 



273 



LACHANA: VEGETABLES 



Portulaca oleracea 
after FAGUET — 1888 


274 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


dysentery, haemorrhoids, as well as eruptions of blood, 
and bites of the seps [poisonous lizard]. It is effective 
mixed with eye medicines, and is a suppository for 
bowels troubled with excessive discharges, or for a 
damaged vulva. It provides irrigation [supply of 
moisture] with rosaceum [1-53] or oil for headaches that 
come from heat. With wine it is a cleansing ointment for 
pustules of the head, and is applied with polenta to 
wounds growing into gangrene. 

2-151. ANDRACHNE AGRIA 

suggested: Portulaca sylvestris [Fuchs, Bauhin], 
Portulaca angusti folia [Bauhin], 

Portulaca oleracea var sylvestris [Linnaeus] 

— Yellow Portulaca 

A ndrachne sylvestris has broader and thicker little 
leaves than the andrachne above. It grows in rocky 
places (sometimes also in gardens). It has leaves similar to 
those of the olive tree but much smaller yet more 
abundant and tender. There are many red stalks 
emerging from one root, leaning earthward. Chewed 
they are found to have good juice — sticky, and 
somewhat salty. It is warming, sharp, and ulcerating, and 
applied with goose grease it dissolves scrofulous tumours 
[glandular swelling, goitres]. 

It is also called aizoon agrion i.e. sempervivum sylvestre, 
or telephium, the Latins (call it) illecebra, some, portulaca, 
the Africans, maemoem, the Dacians, lax, and the 
Egyptians, mochmutim. 

2-152. ASPHARAGOS 


suggested: A sparagus altilis [Brunfels], 

A sparagus sativa [Bauhin], A sparagus acutifolius, 
Asparagus corruda, Asparagus officinal is var altilis [Linnaeus] 
— Asparagus, Sparrow Grass 

A spharagus is also called myon. It grows in rocky 
places, a well-known herb, the small stalks of which, 
boiled and eaten, soothe the intestines and encourage 
urine [diuretic]. A decoction of the roots (taken as a drink) 
helps frequent and painful urination, jaundice, kidney 



Asparagus 

after FAGUET — 1888 




275 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 



Plantago lanceolata 
after FAGUET — 1888 


ailments and hip problems, as well as those bitten by 
harvest spiders. Boiled in wine it helps those troubled 
with toothache (a decoction being kept on the pained 
tooth). The seed (taken in a drink) is good to obtain the 
same results. They say that if dogs drink a decoction they 
will die. Some have related that if one pounds ram's 
horns in pieces and buries them, asparagus comes up, 
which is incredible to me. 

Asparagus is a plant with many branches and many 
long leaves similar to marathrum [3-81], with a great 
round root that has a knob. The stalks pounded into small 
pieces with white wine lessen disorders of the kidneys. 
Taken either boiled or roasted it soothes slow painful 
urination and dysentery. The root boiled either in wine 
or vinegar lessens dislocations. Boiled with figs and 
chickpeas and eaten it cures jaundice, and lessens hip 
pains and painful urination. Displayed [like an amulet] 
(and a decoction taken as a drink) it makes one barren 
and not fit for generation [birth control]. 

2-153. ARNOGLOSSON, 
ARNOGLOSSON MIKRON 

SUGGESTED: Plantago major [Fuchs, Brunfels, Linnaeus], 
Arnoglossa, Septinervia, Plantago lati folia sinuata [Bauhin] 

— Waybread, Greater Plantain 

Plantago minor [Fuchs], Plantago media [Brunfels, Linnaeus] 
Plantago angustifolia major [Bauhin] — Hoary Plantain 

T wo kinds of arnoglossa are found — one lesser, the 
other larger. The smaller sort has narrower leaves, 
smaller, softer, smoother and thinner; with an angular 
stalk, bending down (as it were) on the ground. The 
flowers are pale, with the seed on the top of the stalks. 
The bigger kind is more flourishing, broad-leaved, a sort 
of an olus [one that is well known]. The stalk is angular, 
somewhat red, a foot in height, closed around from the 
middle to the top with thin seed. The roots underneath 
are tender, rough, white, a finger thick. It grows in 
marshes, hedges and moist places. The larger is better for 
use. The leaves are drying and astringent. Therefore 
rubbed on they work against all malignancies, and 
leprous, running, filthy ulcers. They also stop excessive 


276 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



277 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


Atriplex hortenfis + 
iTMteir, 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


discharges of blood, gangrenous ulceration, carbuncles 
[malignant tumours], shingles [herpes] and epinyctis 
[pustules which appear only at night]. They form a skin 
over old irregular ulcers, and heal chironian [cheiralgia — 
pain in the hand or cuts from a surgeon] and hollow 
creeks caused by it. They are good applied with salt for 
dog bites, burns, inflammation, and parotitis [inflamed 
glands, mumps], as well as the inflammation of bones, 
scrofulous tumours [glandular swelling, goitres], and 
ulcers of the eyes. The herb (boiled and taken with water 
and salt) helps dysentery and abdominal distress. It is 
also given boiled with lentils instead of beets. The herb is 
also given (boiled) for the dropsy called leucoplegmatia [a 
tendency to dropsy] caused by eating dry meats, 
however it must be taken while eating the meats. It is also 
good given to the epileptic and the asthmatic. The juice of 
the leaves cleans ulcers in the mouth, washed every now 
and then with it. With cimolia [like fuller's earth] or 
cerussa [white lead ore] it heals skin inflammation, and 
helps fistulas [ulcers] poured into them. The juice being 
dropped in the ears or mixed in eye salves helps earache 
and sores on the eyes, and it is good (taken as a drink) for 
bleeding gums and for those who vomit blood. It is good 
for dysentery given as an enema or suppository. It is 
taken as a drink against consumption. It is used as a 
pessary in wool for constriction of the womb and for a 
womb troubled with excessive discharges. The seeds 
(taken as a drink in wine) stop discharges of the bowels 
and the spitting of blood. The root is boiled and the 
mouth is washed with this decoction (or the root is 
chewed) to lessen toothache. The root and the leaves are 
given in passu m [raisin wine] for ulcers in the bladder and 
kidneys, but some say that three roots (taken as a drink 
with three cupfuls of wine and as much water) help a 
fever with recurrent paroxysms, and that four roots 
(help) a quartain [with paroxysms every fourth day] 
fever. 

Some also use the root as an amulet for scrofulous 
tumours [glandular swelling goitres] to dissolve them. 
(The Syrians say that a broth of this and calamint with 
honey will cure the paralysed, given on the second and 
fourth day until the parascive, (that is the Friday), but 
take this as a secret for it is most true and according to 
experience). 


279 



LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


It is also called dr n ion (as we should say of a lamb), 
probation (as we should say of a sheep), cynoglosson, (that 
is dog's tongue), heptapleuron, polynervon (that is having 
many tendons). The Magi call it erechneumonis, the 
Egyptians, aschat, the Latins, plantago minor, the Gauls 
tarbidolopion, the Spaniards, thesarican, and the Africans, 
atiercon. 


2-154. SION TO EN ODASIN 

suggested: Sium, Anagallis-aquatica [Fuchs], 

A nagallis aquatica minor [Bauhin], Veronica beccabunga 
[Linnaeus] — Brooklime [Mabberley] 

[other usage] Sium I ati folium — Water Parsley, Water Parsnip 
Sium falcaria, Sium siculum — Water Parsnip species 

S ium aquaticum is a little shrub which is found in the 
water — upright, fat, with broad leaves similar to 
hipposelinum [3-78], yet somewhat smaller and aromatic 
— which is eaten (either boiled or raw) to break stones 
[kidney, bladder] and discharge them. Eaten they also 
induce the movement of urine, are abortifacient, expel 
the menstrual flow, and are good for dysentery. 
(Crateuas speaks of it thus: it is a herb like a shrub, little, 
with round leaves, bigger than black mint, similar to 
eruca [2-170]). It is also called anagallis aquatica, schoenos 
aromatica, as well as a sort of juncus odoratus, darenion, or 
laver. 


2-155. SISUMBRION 

suggested: Sisymbrium [Fuchs], M entha aquatica [Fuchs, 
Linnaeus] — Water Mint [Mabberley] 

[other usage] Sisymbrium officinale, Erysimum officinale 
— Hedge Mustard 

Sisymbrium alii aria, A Hi aria officinalis — Sauce-alone, 
Garlic Wort 

S isymbrium grows in untilled ground. It is similar to 
garden mint, yet broader-leaved and with a sweeter 
scent, and is used in wreaths for the head. It is warming. 
The seed (taken in a drink with wine) is good for slow 
painful urination and urinary stones, and relieves 


280 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Si) alteram genus/eu Anagal' 4 il 
lis aquatica* 

SPafler puritfert. 



281 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


Sffymbriurru 



282 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


griping and the hiccups. The leaves are laid on the 
temples and the forehead for headaches. They are also 
good for the stings of wasps and bees. Taken as a drink it 
stops vomiting. It is also called serpillum sylvestre, or 
veneris corona ; the Latins call it austeralis, and others, herba 
venerea. 


2-156. SISUMBRION ETERON 


suggested: Sisymbrium cardamine, Nasturtium aquaticum 
[Fuchs], Nasturtium aquaticum supinum [Bauhin], 
Sisymbrium nasturtium, Sisymbrium aquaticum, 

N asturtium officinale [Brunfels], 

R adieu I a nasturtium-aquaticum, Roripa nasturtium- aquaticum 
— Water Cress, Water Grass 


see 2-170 


T he other sisymbrium is a watery herb growing in the 
same places as si on [2-154], It is also called cardamine 
because it resembles nasturtium [2-185] in the taste. It has 
round leaves at first but when grown they are divided 
like those oieruca [2-170]. It is warming and diuretic and 
is eaten raw. It takes away freckles and sunburn, applied 
at night and wiped away in the morning. Some call it 
cardamine [meadow cress], and some, si on. 


2-157. KRITHMON 


suggested: Crithmum maritimum, Cachrys maritimum 
— Samphire, Sea Fennel, Peter's Cress 



rithmon (also called critamon ) is a shrubby little herb 


about a foot in height, with thick leaves, which 
grows in rocky maritime places. It is full of fat whitish 
leaves similar to those of purslane — yet thicker and 
longer and salty to the taste. It bears white flowers and a 
soft fruit similar to iibanotis — sweet smelling, round. 
When dry it splits and has a seed within similar to wheat. 
The roots are the thickness of a finger, fragrant, and with 
a pleasant taste. The seed, root and leaves (boiled in wine 
and taken as a drink) are effective to help frequent 
painful urination and jaundice, and they induce the 
menstrual flow. It is used as a vegetable (eaten either 
boiled or raw), and is also preserved in brine. 


283 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


2-158. KORONOPOUS 


suggested: Coronopus, Cornu cervium [Fuchs], 
Coronopus hortensis [Bauhin], Plantago coronopis var [3 
[Linnaeus], Coronopus, Cornus cervicum, Herba Stella 
— Buckshom Plantain, Star of the Earth 

C oronopus is a little herb that is somewhat long, with 
indented leaves, spread on the ground. It is eaten 
(boiled) as a vegetable. It has a thin astringent root that is 
eaten for coeliac [intestinal complaints]. It grows in 
un tilled places, on hillocks and by highways. It is also 
called ammonos, or astrion, the Africans call it atirsipte, the 
Latins caciatrix , some, stilago, or sanguinaria. 

2-159. SONCHOS 

AKANTHODESTEROS, SONCHOS 
TRACHOS, SONCHOS TRUPHEROS 

suggested: Sonchus aspera [Fuchs], Sonchus asper laciniatus, 
Sonchus asper non laciniatus [Bauhin], 

Sonchus oleraceus var asper [Linnaeus] — Common Sowthistle 

Sonchus non-aspera [Fuchs], Sonchus laevis laciniatus latifolius 
[Bauhin], Sonchus oleraceus var laevis [Linnaeus] 

— Sowthistle, Milkthistle [Mabberley] 

T here are two kinds of sonchus — one more wild and 
prickly, the other more tender and edible. The stalk is 
angular and somewhat red within with ragged leaves at a 
distance all around. They are cooling and moderately 
astringent; as a result they are applied for a burning 
stomach and inflammation. The juice is sipped to lessen 
pangs of hunger in the stomach. It draws down mil k and 
is applied on wool to help inflammation of the perineum 
and womb. The herb and root are applied to help those 
touched by a scorpion. There is also another kind of 
sonchus that is also tender, grows like a tree, and is broad 
leaved, but the leaves divide the stalk. This is effective for 
the same purposes. It is also called asperum, or cichorium, 
the Romans call it cicerbita, and the Africans, gathuonem. 


284 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 




Sonchus afpera* 

©eng 0i(M* 




* 



^X\K- tj~ Z^7v'. N . i , 


7,'Jk v */ ^!:'{j'^- 1 'j . 







Sonchus aspera 
from FUCHS — 1545 


285 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


Sonchus non afpcra. 7 

^afcnPM. 



286 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-160. SERIS 

suggested: Intybum saticvum latifolium [Fuchs, Bauhin], 
Endiva vulgaris [Bauhin], Cichorium endivia [Linnaeus] 
Intybum sativum angustifolium, Scariol [Fuchs] — Endive 

Intybum sylvestre, Intubus erraticus, Cichorea [Fuchs], 
Cichorium sylvestre, Cichorium officinarum [Bauhin] 
Cichorium intybus [Linnaeus] — Wild Chicory, Succory 

S en's has two types — wild and cultivated, of which the 
wild is called pickris or ci chorum, but the other kind, 
that of the garden, is broader-leaved and more pleasant 
in the mouth. Of the two kinds, one is more similar to 
lettuce and is broad leaved; the other is narrow-leaved 
and bitter. Both are astringent, cooling and good for the 
stomach. Boiled and taken with vinegar they stop 
discharges of the bowels, and the wild (especially) are 
best for the stomach, for when eaten they comfort a 
disturbed and burning stomach. Applied with polenta 
(or by themselves) they are good for heart conditions. 
They help gout and inflammation of the eyes. The herb 
and root are rubbed on to help those who are touched by 
a scorpion, and with polenta they heal erysipela 
[streptococcal skin infection]. The juice from them with 
cerussa [white lead ore] and vinegar is good rubbed on 
those who need cooling. It is also called pier is, the 
Egyptians call it agon, and the Romans, intybus agrestis. 



Cichorium intybus 
after FAGUET — 1880 


2-161. KONDRILLE, KONDRILLE ETERA 


suggested: H edypnois, D ens leonis, T araxacon [Fuchs], 

H edypnois maior [Brunfels], Leontodon taraxacum [Linnaeus], 

T araxacum officinale — Dandelion 

[other usage] Chondrilla juncea, Chondrilla graminea 
— Chondrilla, Chondrille, Gum Succory, Wild Succory 

C ondrilla (also called cichorium or sen's), has leaves, a 
stalk and flowers similar to chicory, as a result some 
have said that it is a kind of wild ser/'s, but it is altogether 
much smaller. Around the stems a gum is found (about 
the size of a bean) that is similar to mastic [1-51]. Pounded 
into small pieces with myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] and an 
amount the size of an olive applied in a linen cloth, it 


287 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


dries out the menstrual flow. The herb pounded together 
with the root and mixed with honey is formed into 
lozenges, which are diluted and mixed with saltpetre 
[potassium nitrate] to take away sunburn. The gum 
preserves the hair. The root (taken whilst it is new) is 
good for the same purposes — a needle being dipped 
[into the juice of] it and applied to the hair. Taken as a 
drink with wine it is also good against vipers; and the 
juice boiled with wine and taken as a drink (or else taken 
alone) stops discharges of the bowels. There is also 
another kind of condrilla with a gnawed-around leaf, 
somewhat long, scattered on the ground, the stalk full of 
juice; and a slender root — lively, smooth, round, a pale 
yellow, full of juice. The stalk and the leaves are digestive, 
and the juice is good for retaining the hair on the eyelids. 
It grows in fertile and cultivated fields. 

2-162. KOLOKUNTHA 

suggested: Citrullus colocynthis, Cucumis colocynthis 
— Colocynth, Bitter Apple, Bitter Gourd 

see 4-178 


T he edible colocynth (bruised and applied raw) lessens 
oedema and the suppuration of ulcers. Scrapings of it 
are effective applied to the upper part of the heads of 
children troubled with heat of the head called siriasis 
[sunstroke]; and it is similarly used for inflammations of 
the eyes and gout. Juice from bruised scrapings is 
dropped in the ears either by itself or with rosaceum [1-53] 
to help earache. Rubbed on, it is good for the appearance 
of burns from heat. The herb boiled whole and the juice 
of it strained out and taken as a drink with a little honey 
and nitre [saltpetre] gently loosens the bowels. If you 
hollow it (raw), put wine in there, set it out in the open 
air, then afterwards dilute it and drink it fasting, it gently 
soothes the bowels. 


288 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Intybum fatiuum anguftifoliu, j8p 
0c«xnol. 



289 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


388 Intybum fatruum Iatifolfum* 
©fe r ttft £nbimert. 



290 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-163. SIKUOS EMEROS 


suggested: Cucumis sativus vulgaris [Fuchs, Bauhin], 
Cucurbita maior, Cucurbita oblonga [Fuchs], 

Cucurbita lagenaria [Linnaeus], Lagenaria vulgaris, 

Sicyos [Latin], Cucumis sativa — Cucumber 

T he cultivated cucumer is good for the intestines and 
the stomach, cooling (if it is not spoiled), effective for 
the bladder. It is smelled to revive those in a swoon, and 
the seed is mildly diuretic. With milk or passu m [raisin 
wine] it is good for ulcers of the bladder. The leaves are 
applied with wine to heal the bites of dogs; with honey 
they heal pustules that appear at night. 

2-164. PEPON 


suggested: Pepo, Cucumis pepo [Fuchs], 

M do vulgaris [Bauhin], Cucumis mdo [Linnaeus], Cantalupo, 
Popone [Italian], C ucumis dudaim var aegypticus 
— Sweet Melon, Dudaim Melon 

[other usage] Cucurbita pepo — Pumpkin 
M dopopone [Italian], Cucurbita pepo var mdopepo — Squash 

T he pulp of pepon is diuretic if eaten, but applied it 
alleviates inflammation of the eyes. The scrapings 
are laid on top of the heads of children troubled with 
siriasis [sunstroke]; and it is laid as an anacollema [against 
that which is glued together] to the forehead for 
rheumatic eyes. The juice together with the seed, mixed 
with meal and dried in the sun, is a scourer to purge away 
filth and make the skin on the face clear. A teaspoon of 
the dry root (taken as a drink with honey water) causes 
vomiting. If anyone wants to vomit gently after supper 
two times ten grains will be sufficient for this. It also heals 
favus [contagious skin disease] rubbed on with honey. 


291 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 



L actuca virosa [seed head] 
after FAGUET — 1880 


2-165. THRIDAX EMEROS 

suggested: L actuca sativa crispa et rotunda [Fuchs], 
Lactuca crispa [Bauhin], Lactuca sativa [Linnaeus], 

Lactuca scariola var sativa — Common Lettuce 

L actuca (the garden lettuce) is good for the stomach, a 
little cooling, causes sleep, softens the bowels and 
draws down milk. Boiled, it is more nourishing. Eaten 
unwashed it is good for the stomach. The seeds (taken in 
a drink) help those who dream continuously, and turn 
away sexual intercourse [anaphrodisiac]. Eaten too often 
they cause of dullness of sight. They are also preserved in 
brine. When they shoot up into a stalk they have 
properties similar to the juice and mi lk of the wild lettuce. 
The Romans call it lactuca, and the Egyptians, embrosi. 

2-166. THRIDAX AGRIA 

suggested: Lactuca sytvestris [Fuchs], 

Lactuca scariola [Linnaeus], Thridax [Latin], Lactuca virosa 
— Wild Lettuce 

W ild lettuce is similar to the cultivated only larger- 
stalked, paler in the leaves, thinner and sharper, 
and bitter to the taste. It is somewhat similar to poppy in 
properties, as a result some mix the milky juice of it with 
meconium [4-65]. Twenty grains of the juice (taken in a 
drink with posca [hot drinks]) purges away watery matter 
through the bowels. It also wears off albugo [eye disease], 
and mistiness and dimness of the eyes, and it is good 
against their burning heat rubbed on with woman's milk. 
In general it is sleep-inducing and eases pain. It draws 
out the menstrual flow, and is given as a drink for those 
touched by a scorpion or harvest spider. The seed of this 
(as well as the cultivated, taken in a drink) turns away 
lustful dreams and venereal diseases. The juice is also 
good for the same purposes yet weaker. The milky juice 
of it is first exposed to the sun (like other extracted juices) 
and stored in new ceramic jars. The Magi call it sanguis 
Titani, Zoroastrians, pherumbras, and the Romans, lactuca 
sylvestris. 


292 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


y> O Intybum fylueftre cremleumj 
fiueCichorium* 

23(aw fDetfteark 



293 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


HedysiWs imtot\ ^ 
(5:o£ Z\6:lt'tvUiu 



294 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-167. GINGIDION 


suggested: Gingidium, Chaerefolium [Fuchs] 
Chaerophyllum sativum [Bauhin], Scandix cerefolium [Linnaeus], 
Anthriscus cerefolium — Chervil [Mabberley] 

G ingidium grows plentifully in Cilicia and Syria — a 
little herb similar to wild pastinaca yet thinner, and 
with a thicker little root, white and bitter. It is used as a 
vegetable, eaten both raw and boiled. Pickled, it is good 
for the stomach and diuretic. A decoction (taken as a 
drink with wine) is good for the bladder. The Romans call 
it bisacutum, the Egyptians, dorysastrum, the Syrians, 
adorion, the Africans, tiricta, and it is also called lepidium. 


2-168. SKANDUX 


suggested: Anthriscus sylvestris, Scandix [Pliny] 

— Wild Chervil, Cow Parsley, Cow Weed 

S candix is a wild vegetable — somewhat sharp and 
bitter, edible whether eaten raw or boiled, good for 
the intestines and the stomach. A decoction (taken as a 
drink) is good for the bladder, kidneys, and liver. The 
Romans call it herba scan aria, and some, acicula. 


2-169. KAUKALIS 


suggested: Caucalis grandiflora, Caucaiis pumila, 
Caucalis platycarpus — Caucalis, Hedge Parsley, Bur Parsley 



aucalis (also called wild daucus ) has a little stalk a foot 


^^in length or more, with leaves similar to marathrum 
[3-81], very divided and rough, and on the top of it a 
white tuft with a fragrant scent. This is also used as a 
vegetable (eaten either raw or boiled), and is diuretic. 

It is also called caucum, or myitis, Democritus calls it 
bryon, the Romans, pes gallinaceum, some call it pes pulli, 
and the Egyptians call it seselis. 


295 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


2-170. EUZOMON 

suggested: Eyzumum, Eruca [Pliny], Eruca sativa [Fuchs], 
Sisymbrium tenuifoiium [Linnaeus] — Hedge Mustard 
D iplotaxis tenuifolia [in Sprague] — Rocket 

Eruca sylvestris, Sinapi primum [Fuchs] — Hedge Mustard 
— Sinapi, E ruca [Bauhin], N asturtium sylvestre [Brunfels], 

R orippa sylvestre [in Sprague] — Watercress see 2-156 

[other usage] E ruca vesicaria ssp sativa — Rocket Salad 
Eruca erucacastrum, Erucacastrum obtusangulum, 

Brassica erucacastrum — Bastard Rocket, Wild Rocket 

E aten raw in any great amount this encourages the 
pursuit of sexual pleasure [aphrodisiac], and the seed 
has a similar effect — also being diuretic, digestive and 
good for the bowels. They use the seed in making sauces 
so that it may last longer. They steep it first in vinegar or 
milk, make it into lozenges, and afterwards place it in 
storage. Wild ezymum grows as well especially in Iberia 
towards the west, the seed of which the men there use 
instead of mustard. It is more diuretic and far sharper 
than the cultivated. The Romans call it eruca, the 
Egyptians, ethrekicen, and the Africans, asuric. 

2-171. OKIMON 

suggested: Ocimum exiguum, 0 cimum minutum, 
Ocimum mediocre, Ocimum magnum [Fuchs] 

Ocimum basilicum, Basiiicum — Basil, Sweet Basil 

O cimum is commonly known. Eaten much it dulls the 
eyesight and softens the bowels, moves flatulence, 
is uretic, and helps the flow of milk. It is hard to digest. 
Applied with flour of polenta, rosaceum [1-53] and vinegar 
it helps inflammation, and the strikes of poisonous fishes 
and scorpions. Used alone with Chian [from Scios in the 
Aegean sea] wine (it is good) for sores of the eyes. The 
juice takes away dimness in the eyes, and dries up excess 
fluids in them. Taken in a drink the seed is good for those 
who breed depression, for frequent painful urination, 
and flatulence. It causes considerable sneezing when 
smelled, and the herb does the same. The eyes must be 
shut whil s t the sneezing lasts. Some avoid it and do not 


296 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Gingidfum. uj 



297 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


Erucafariua* 
^mcr xcciflfec ©ettff. 





298 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


eat it, because when it is chewed and set in the sun it 
breeds little worms. The Africans have used it because 
those who eat it and are touched by a scorpion remain 
without pain. 


2-172. OROBANKE 


suggested: 0 robanche major — Greater Broomrape 
0 robanche minor, 0 robanche barbata — Lesser Broomrape 
0 robanche ramosa — Branched Broomrape 

ALL SLIGHTLY POISONOUS 

O robanche (commonly called lycos — as we should 
say, a wolf) has a little stalk, somewhat red (as it 
were) two feet [high] and sometimes bigger, fattish in the 
leaves, rough, tender, endowed with whitish flowers, or 
somewhat inclining to yellow. The root lies underneath, 
the thickness of a finger, eaten through with holes when 
the stalk dries. It seems that when it grows among pulse 
[legumes] it chokes them, from which it has its name. It is 
used as a vegetable (either raw or boiled) eaten from a 
platter like asparagus. Boiled together with legumes it is 
thought to make them boil sooner. It is also called 
cynomorion, or ieonem, and the Cyprians call it thyrsi ne. 

2-173. TRAGOPOGON 


suggested: Tragopogon crocifolius — Wild Salsify 


mfh 




m 


r 


0 robanche ramosa 
after FAGUET — 1888 


Tragopogon porrifolius, Tragopogon pratensis— Salsify, 
Vegetable Oyster, Oyster Plant, Goat's Beard 


T ragopogon or tetrapogon (also called come) has a short 
stalk and leaves similar to saffron. The root is long 
and sweet. It has a big cup on the stalk and black fruit in 
the top, from which it took its name. It is an edible herb. 


299 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


2-174. ORNITHOGALON 


suggested: Ornithogalum umbel latum, Scilla campestris, 
Bulbus leucanthemus — Eleven o' Clock Lady, 

Star of Bethlehem 

O rnithogalon has a tender stalk — thin, whitish, about 
two feet high — with three or four tender slips 
growing together on the top from which come the 
flowers, which outwardly seem the colour of herbs but 
opened they are similar to milk. Between them is a little 
head (cut-in like cachrys [3-88]) that is baked together 
with bread (like melanthium [3-93]). The root is bulbose 
and is eaten both raw and boiled [vegetable]. 

2-175. HUDNON 


suggested: T uber album, R hizopogon album, 

C hoiromyces meandriformis — White Truffle, False Truffle 

T uber is a round, pale, yellow root without leaves or 
stalk. It is dug up in the spring and is edible eaten 
either raw or boiled [vegetable]. 

2-176. SMILAX 

suggested: Smilax-hortensis, Phasiolus [Fuchs], 
Phaseolus vulgaris [Linnaeus], Phaseolus vulgaris, 
Phaseolus coccineus — French Beans, Kidney Beans, 
Scarlet Runner Beans, Haricot Beans 
[other usage] M yrsiphyllum asparagoides — Smilax, 
Climbing Asparagus 

see 2-130 


G arden smilax whose fruit I obi a (pods) is called 
asparagus by some, has leaves like ivy only softer, 
with thin stalks and tendrils wrapped around the 
neighbouring shrubs. These grow so much that they are 
made into bowers. It bears fruit similar to fenugreek but 
longer and more widely known, with seeds within 
similar to kidneys, not the same colour but partly 
somewhat reddish. The fruit (pod) is eaten with the seeds 
as a vegetable, boiled like asparagus. It encourages urine 
and causes troublesome dreams. 


300 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Erucafylucftris. 

tPtlfcer wcifler @cnff* 


1 47 





301 


LACHANA: VEGETABLES 


Smilaxiiortcnfts. 4°? 

tDdfd; Bosiejt, 



302 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-177. MEDICE 


suggested: M edicago sativa — Lucerne, Alfalfa, 
Common Medick 

M edica recently sprung-up is similar to meadow 
tri folium [clover] but when more grown it becomes 
narrower-leaved, sending out stalks similar to tri folium 
with seeds the size of a lentil, twisted around like a little 
horn. This is dried and mixed (because of its sweet 
savour) in salt sauces. Applied whilst green it is good for 
whatever has need of cooling. Those who breed beasts 
use the whole herb instead of grass [fodder]. 


2-178. APHAKE 


suggested: A phace, Sylvestris vitia, Osmundi [Fuchs], 
Vicia sepium [Bauhin, Linnaeus] — Bush Vetch [Mabberley] 

[other usage] Lathy rus aphaca, Aphaca vulgaris, 

Lathy rus segetum — Yellow Vetchling 



phaca is a small-leaved little shrub that grows in the 


xJLfields, higher than lentils. The pods that are found 
thickly on it are bigger than lentil pods. They contain 
three or four little seeds smaller than lentils. These little 
seeds are astringent, as a result they stop both excessive 
discharge of the bowels and the stomach. They are 
[eaten] as the lentil is, fried or bruised and boiled 
[vegetable]. 





after FAGUET — 1888 


303 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 



Leek— Allium 
ameloprasum var porrum 

after FAGUET — 1888 


HERBS WITH A SHARP 
QUALITY 

2-179. PRASON 


suggested: Porrum capitatum [Fuchs], A Ilium porrum, 
Porrum sectivum, Allium schoenoprasum [Linnaeus], 
Porrum commune, A Ilium ameloprasum var porrum — Leek 


T he headed prasum (which the Latins call porrum ) is 
inflative, has bad juice, causes troublesome dreams, 
is uretic and good for the stomach, reduces the intensity 
of symptoms, causes dullness of sight, expels the 
menstrual flow, and hurts ulcerated bladders and 
kidneys. Boiled with barley water (or otherwise eaten) it 
brings out things that close up the chest. The blades 
boiled in sea water and vinegar are excellent in a bath for 
suffocation and hardness of the womb. It grows sweet 
and becomes less flatulent if it is boiled in two [separate] 
waters and steeped in [fresh] cold water. The seed is 
sharper and somewhat astringent. As a result, the juice 
mixed with vinegar and manna [exudation of certain 
trees] or frankincense, stops the blood (especially that 
which comes from the nostrils), discourages venereal 
diseases, and is good used as linctus [syrup] with honey 
for all disorders in the chest. Eaten (it is good) against 
consumption [wasting disease]. It cleans the breath 
canals [lungs]. Eaten frequently it dulls the sight and is 
worthless for the stomach. Taken as a drink with honey 
and water the juice is a remedy for those bitten by 
venomous creatures, and the prasum itself also does good 
if applied. The juice dropped in the ears with vinegar, 
frankincense, and mi lk or rosaceum [1-53] helps earache 
and noises in the ears. The leaves applied with rhoe [4-64] 
obsoniorum [any food which is not bread] take away var OS 
[papules of smallpox], and heals pustules which appear 
at night. Applied with salt it removes the edges on the 
crusts of ulcers. Two teaspoonfuls of the seeds (taken in a 
drink with the same amount of myrtle berries) stop the 
throwing-up of old blood. 


304 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Aphace* 
tPifo Widen. 


ci 



305 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 



306 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-180. AMELOPRASON 

suggested: A Ilium ameloprasum var ameloprasum 
— Wild Leek, Blue Leek, Vine Leek, Great-headed Garlic, 
Levant Garlic 

A mpeloprasum is worse for the stomach than leeks but 
is warmer and more uretic, expelling the menstrual 
flow. It is good if those bitten by poisonous beasts eat it. 

2-181. KROMUON 


SUGGESTED: Askolonion krommoon [Theophrastus], 

Cepa ascolonia [Pliny], Cepa [Fuchs], Cepa vulgaris [Bauhin], 

A Ilium cepa [Linnaeus], Porrum cepa — Onion 

Allium ascalonium, Porrum ascalonium — Shallot, Scallion, 
Ascalonian Garlic 

T he long onion is sharper than the round, the red 
more than the white, the dry more than the green, 
the raw more than the roasted or that kept in salt. All of 
them have a biting quality and are inflative, inviting 
appetite. They reduce the intensity of symptoms, cause 
thirst, cause nauseousness and purging, are good for the 
bowels, open the passages for excrement, and are good 
for haemorrhoids. First peeled and put into oil, they are 
given as a suppository. The juice rubbed on with honey 
helps dull sight, argema [small white ulcer on the cornea], 
small clouds in the eye, and those who are beginning to 
be troubled with liquids in the eyes, as well as angina 
[heart pains]. It both induces and expels the menstrual 
flow, and inhaled it purges the head by the nostrils. It is a 
poultice with salt, rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98] and honey for 
those bitten by dogs. Thoroughly rubbed on in the sun 
with vinegar it cures vi ti I i gi n es [form of leprosy], and with 
an equal amount of spodium [calcined powder] it lessens 
scabby inflammations of the eyes. With salt it represses 
var OS [smallpox pustules]. With poultry grease it is good 
for shoe-chafing, excessive discharges of the intestines, 
hardness of hearing, noise in the ears, and purulent ears. 
It is also good for dripping water in the ears, and the loss 
of hair (rubbed on) as it brings out the hair sooner than 
alcyonium [5-136]. Onion (much eaten) causes headaches, 
but boiled it becomes more diuretic. If much is eaten in 


307 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


times of sickness it makes men lethargic. Boiled and 
applied as a plaster with raisins of the sun or figs it ripens 
and breaks swelling sores. It is also called poly ides, the 
Magi call it Cdlabotis, and the Latins, caepa. 

2-182. SKORODON, 
LEUKOSKORODON, 
OPHIOSKORODON, 
ELAPHOSKORODON 


suggested: A Ilium hortense, Allium sylvestre, 

Allium ursinum [Fuchs, Linnaeus], A Ilium sativum, 
Allium vineale, Allium oleraceum, Porrum sativum — Garlic 

S ome garlic is cultivated and grows in gardens, and 
that in Egypt has only one head like the leek — sweet, 
inclining to a purple colour. Elsewhere it is compacted of 
many white cloves that the Greeks call aglithai. There is 
another wild kind called ophioscorodon (that is, serpent's 
garlic). It has a sharp, warming, biting quality. It expels 
flatulence, disturbs the belly, dries the stomach, causes 
thirst and puffing up, breeds boils on the outside of the 
body, and dulls vision. 0 phioscorodon does the same 
things when eaten, as well as elaphoscorodon (as we should 
say, hart's garlic). Eaten, it draws out broadworms and 
draws away urine. It is good like nothing else for those 
bitten by vipers or with haemorrhous [women's excessive 
loss of blood] (with wine taken shortly afterwards), or 
else pounded into small pieces in wine and taken as a 
drink. It is applied as a poultice that is effective for the 
same purposes, as well as applied to anyone bitten by a 
mad dog. Eaten, it is good against change of waters (to 
clear the throat, and the same way to relieve roughness of 
the throat). It clears the arteries, and eaten either raw or 
boiled lessens old coughs. Taken as a drink with a 
decoction of origanum it kills lice and nits. Burnt and 
mixed with honey it cures bruised eyes. It is rubbed on for 
loss of hair but for this it must be used with ointment of 
nard [1-6, 1-7, 1-8, 1-10]. With salt and oil it heals erupted 
pimples. With honey it takes away vitiligines [form of 
leprosy], lichenes [skin disease], freckles, running ulcers 
on the head, dandruff, and psoriasis. Boiled with taeda 
[pitch pine] and frankincense and kept in the mouth it 
lessens toothache. It is a poultice with fig leaves and 


308 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



309 



HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 



Cucurbits pepo 
after THIEBAULT — 1888 


310 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


cumin for those bitten by the my g die [shrew mouse]. A 
decoction of the leaves is a hip bath to bring down the 
menstrual flow and afterbirth. It is also inhaled as smoke 
for the same purpose. The stamping that is made of it 
with black olives called myrton [garlic and olives] induces 
the movement of urine, opens the mouths of veins, and is 
good for dropsy. It is also called geboscum, some call it 
elaphoboscum, and the Latins, allium. 

2-183. SKORODOPRASON 

suggested: Allium scorodoprasum — Spanish Garlic, 
Spanish Shallot 

S cordoprasum grows to the size of a leek, sharing the 
qualities of both garlic and leek (from which it has a 
mixed kind of strength), performing things that the garlic 
and the leek do, but with fewer efficacies. It is used as a 
vegetable, eaten boiled like leek and thus made to 
become sweet. 


2-184. SINEPI 

suggested: N apy, Sinapis primum genus [Fuchs], 

Sinapi hortense [Brunfels], Sinapis alba [Linnaeus], 
Leucosinapis officinalis, Brassica alba — White Mustard, 
Salad Mustard, Cultivated Mustard 

C hoose sinepi that is not very dry, red or full; but 
which if broken looks green within, and as it were 
juicy and bluish grey. This sort is new and in its prime. It 
is able to warm, thin, and to draw, and is chewed to purge 
phlegm from the head. The juice (mixed with honey 
water and gargled) is good for hard swollen tonsils, and 
for old, hard, rough skin of the arteries. Pounded into 
small pieces and put into the nostrils it causes snivelling, 
helps the epileptic, and revives those troubled with 
constriction of the vulva. It is rubbed on the lethargic 
(their head being first shaved). Mixed with figs and 
applied to the place until it becomes red it is good for 
sciatica [pains in the hips]. It is used to draw out anything 
from deep within to the outside of the body (to cure it) by 
diverting the suffering some other way. Rubbed on with 
honey, fat or wax ointment it cures loss of hair, cleans the 


311 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


face, and takes away bruises from the eyes. It is rubbed 
about with vinegar for leprosy and wild impetigo [skin 
infection]. It is taken in a drink against the circuits of 
fevers, being sprinkled on the drink dry (the same as 
polenta). It is effective mixed with drawing plasters such 
as those made for scabies [itchy parasitical disease]. It is 
good pounded with figs and applied for hardness of 
hearing and noise in the ears. The juice rubbed on with 
honey is good for dullness of sight and rough skin of the 
jowls. The juice is pressed out of it whilst the seed is green 
and dried in the sun. It is also called napy, and the 
Romans call it sinapi. 

2-185. KARDAMON 

suggested: Nasturtium hortense, Nasturtium sativum, 
Cressio hortensis [Fuchs, Brunfels], Cardamum, 

N asturtium hortense vulgatum [Bauhin], L epidium sativum 
[Linnaeus ], Lepidium oleraceum — Common Garden Cress, 
Tongue Grass 

T he best cress seems to be from Babylon. The seed of 
any sort of cress is warming, sharp, bad for the 
stomach, troubles the intestines, expels worms, lessens 
the spleen, is an abortifacient, moves the menstrual flow, 
and incites to copulation [aphrodisiac]. It has a similar 
nature to mustard seed and rocket seed. It cleans away 
psoriasis and impetigo [skin infection]. It keeps the spleen 
low, rubbed on with honey. It takes away smallpox 
pustules, and boiled in sipping drinks brings up things 
sticking in the chest. Taken as a drink it is an antidote 
against the poison of snakes, and it drives away snakes 
with inhalation of the smoke from it. It prevents falling 
hair. It brings carbuncles [infected boils] to suppuration 
breaking them all around. It is good for sciatica rubbed on 
with vinegar and polenta. It dissolves oedema and 
inflammation, and rubbed on with brine brings boils or 
inflammatory tumours to suppuration. The herb does the 
same things as the seed yet it is somewhat less effective. It 
is also called cynocardamom , iberis , cardamina, or 
cardamantica ; the Egyptians call it semeth, and the Latins, 
nasturtium. 


312 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Lepidium perfoliatum 
after FAGUET — 1888 


313 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 



314 




THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-186. THLASPI 

suggested: Thlaspi latifolium [Fuchs ],Thlaspi campestre 
[Linnaeus], Lepidium campestre [Brunfels] — Field Cress, 
Wild Bastard Cress, Pepperwort 

[other usage] Thlaspi arvense — Penny Cress, 
Mithridate Mustard, Wild Cress 
Thlaspi alliaceum — Garlic-scented Shepherd's Purse 

T hlaspi is a little herb, narrow in the leaves, the height 
of about a finger, bending to the ground, divided at 
the top, somewhat fat. It sends out a little stalk two feet in 
height with a few little branches. Around the whole of it 
there is fruit from the top, somewhat broad, in which a 
little seed is enclosed similar to nasturtium [2-185], shaped 
like a dish as it were, broken or bruised, from which it 
took its name. The flowers are somewhat white, and it 
grows in paths, on walls, and in hedges. The seed is sharp 
and warming. An acetabulum [vinegar cruet measure] 
(taken in a drink) purges bile upward and downward. It 
is made into a sup pository for sciatica. Taken in a 
drink it brings out blood and breaks internal abscesses. It 
induces the menstrual flow and is an abortifacient. 
Crateuas mentions another kind of thlaspi called Per si cum 
sinapi, broad-leaved and big-rooted, and this is also 
mixed in suppositories for sciatica. It is also called 
thlaspidium, sinapim, sinapi syivestre, myiten, myopteron, 
dasmophon, or bitrum ; the Egyptians call it sui temp sum, the 
Romans, scandulaceum, and it is also called capsella, or pes 
gallinaceum. 


2-187. DRABA 

suggested: Draba verna [Linnaeus], Europhila vulgaris 
— Common Europhila 
D raba olympica, D raba arabis, D raba nemoralis 
— Witlow Grass 

D raba, a herb of about a foot high, has slender sprigs 
with leaves on both sides like lepidium, yet more 
tender and paler, and a tuft on the top with white flowers 
similar to elder. This herb is boiled with barley water 
(especially in Cappadocia) and the dry seed is mixed with 
sauces instead of pepper. 


315 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


2-188. ERUSIMON 


suggested: Irion, Sinapis sylvestris,Rapistrum [Fuchs], 
Rapistrum floreluteo [Bauhin], Sinapis arvensis [Linnaeus], 
Sisymbrium officinale, Erysimum officinale— Hedge Mustard, 

Singer's Plant 

[other usage] E rysi mum alii ari a, Alii ari a offi ci n alis 
— Blistercress, Garlicwort 
Erysimum bar barea, Erysimum cheiranthoides 
— Treacle Mustard, Treacle Wormseed 

E rysimum grows about towns, the yards of houses and 
gardens. It has leaves like eruca sylvestris [2-170]. It 
has a little stalk, pliable and flexible like a rein, and 
flowers of a yellowish colour. On the top are little pods 
like horns (as slender as those of fenugreek) in which are 
little seeds like those of nasturtium [2-185], burning 
according to the taste. Licked in with honey they are 
good for excessive discharges of the chest, spitting-up of 
rotten stuff, coughs, jaundice and sciatica [pains in hips; 
sciatic nerves]. It is taken in a drink against deadly 
medicinal drinks [antidote]. Rubbed on with water or 
honey it is good for hidden diseases of the cornea, hard 
lumps, glandular tumours, inflammation from stones 
[urinary, kidney], and inflammation of the breasts. In 
general it thins and warms but it is made milder for 
syrups — first steeped in water and dried or bound into a 
linen cloth, wrapped around with kneaded flour, and 
roasted. ( Erysimum , pounded into small pieces with 
wine, should be taken as a drink for pains in the 
intestines; and if you put seven grains into a house, there 
shall be arguing). It is also called chamaeplion, the Magi call 
it Herculis psoriasista , the Egyptians, erethmu, and the 
Romans call it irio. 


2-189. PIPER 

suggested: Piper longum, Piper aromaticum, Piper chaba, 

C haba officinarum, C haba roxberghii — Long Pepper 
Piper nigrum — Black Pepper 

P epper is said to be a short tree that growing in India 
which sends out a fruit — at first long, similar to pods 
— which is the long pepper. It has something within it 


316 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Irion* 


*43 



317 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 



Piper nigrum 
after FAGUET — 1874 


318 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


similar to millet, will be perfect pepper. At its time of 
opening itself it sends out clusters bearing grains such as 
we know (some of which are unripe) which are the white 
pepper — especially suitable for eye medicines, 
antidotes, and for the bites of poisonous snakes. The long 
pepper is endowed with an extraordinarily biting 
quality, is somewhat bitter because of being unripe, and 
is suitable for antidotes and the bites of poisonous snakes. 
The black is sweeter and sharper than the white, more 
pleasant to the mouth, more aromatic because it is ripe, 
and fitter to be used in sauces; but the white and unripe is 
weaker. Choose that which is heaviest and full, black, not 
too wrinkled, new and not branny. Some is found among 
the black — without nourishment, lank and light — 
which is called brdsma. All pepper in general is warming, 
urinary, digestive, attracting and dissolving, and cleans 
away things that darken the pupils. It is good (either 
taken in a drink or rubbed on) for periodical chills (of 
fevers), it helps those bitten by poisonous beasts, and it is 
an abortifacient. Applied as a pessary it seems to hinder 
conception after sexual intercourse [birth control]. It is 
good (taken either in syrups or liquid medicines) for 
suffering about the chest and for coughs. It is good 
rubbed on with honey for tonsillitis, and dissolves 
griping taken as a drink with tender leaves of laurel. 
Chewed with adenoid passae [lozenges] it draws mucus 
out of the head. Mixed in sauces it eases pain, is healing, 
and encourages appetite. Taken with pitch it dissolves 
scrofulous tumours [glandular swelling], and with nitre 
[saltpetre] it cleans away vitiligines [type of leprosy]. It is 
roasted in a new ceramic jar over coals — being shaken 
about similar to lens [lentils] . The root of it is not ginger (as 
some have supposed) as we will show a little later. Yet the 
root of pepper is similar to COStus [1-15] — warming the 
taste and causing spittle. Rubbed on with vinegar it 
humbles the spleen, and chewed with stavesacre [4-156] 
it extracts mucus. 

2-190. ZINGIBERI 

suggested: Zingiber officinale— Ginger 

G inger is a private plant growing plentifully in 
primitive Arabia. The green herb is used for many 


319 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


purposes (as we use rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98], boiling and 
mixing it in oil) for drinking, and with boiled meats. It has 
small little roots like those of Cyprus [1-124], whitish, 
resembling pepper in taste, and with a sweet smell. 
Choose those that are least rotten. Some (because of 
rotting soon) are preserved and carried into Italy in 
ceramic jars and are fit for [use with] meat, but they are 
used together with their pickle. They are warming and 
digestive, soften the intestines gently, and are good for 
the stomach. Ginger root is effective against things that 
darken the pupils [eyes]. It is also mixed with antidotes, 
and in a general way it resembles pepper in its strength. 

2-191. UDROPEPERI 


suggested: Hydropiper [Fuchs], Persicaria urens, 

Persica hydropiper [Bauhin], Polygonum hydropiper [Linnaeus] 
— Water Pepper 

SLIGHTLY POISONOUS 

H ydropiper grows chiefly near standing waters or 
those flowing gently. It sends out a stalk that is 
knotty and strong, around which are hollows with 
wings; and leaves similar to mint, but bigger, more 
delicate and whiter, sharp in taste, similar to pepper but 
without any sweet smell. It has a fruit growing on the 
little branches near the leaves, hanging close together like 
clusters of grapes, and it is also sharp. The leaves applied 
with the seeds are able to dissolve oedema and old hard 
lumps, and take away bruises. Dried and pounded, they 
are mixed with salt and sauces instead of pepper. It has a 
little root that is of no use. 

2-192. PTARMIKE 

suggested: Ptarmice, Pyrethrum sylvestre [Fuchs], 

D racunculis pratensis serrato folio [Bauhin], A chi Ilea ptarmica, 

A chi I lea macrocephala, Ptarmika vulgaris — Sneezewort, 
Bastard Pellitory 

P tarmica is a little shrub with many small round 
branches similar to southernwood, around which are 
many leaves — somewhat long, similar to those of the 
olive tree. On the top is a little head like anthemis arvensis 


320 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



321 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 



Capparisspinosa 
after FAGUET — 1874 


322 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


[3-156], small, round, sharp according to the smell, 
causing sneezing, from which it is named. The leaves 
smeared on (with the flowers) are able to take away 
bruises below the eyes. The flowers induce sneezing 
most effectively. It grows in mountainous and rocky 
places. 


2-193. STROUTHION 


suggested: Struthium, Saponaria [Fuchs], 

Saponaria major laevis [Bauhin], Saponaria officinalis [Linnaeus] 
— Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Fuller's Herb [Mabberley] 

S truthium (which fullers use for cleaning their wool) is 
commonly known. The root is sharp and uretic. A 
spoonful of it (taken with honey) helps those with liver 
disorders, coughs, and asthma; and it draws off bowels. 
Taken with panaces [3-55, 3-56, 3-57] and root of cap par is 
[2-204] it breaks stones [kidney] and voids them by urine, 
and melts a hardened spleen; and (placed below) it 
draws down the menstrual flow, and is an abortifacient. 
Smeared on with polenta and vinegar it takes away 
leprosy. Boiled with barley meal and wine it dissolves the 
inflammation of bones. It is mixed with eye salves made 
for sharpening the sight, and with soothing medicines. It 
induces sneezing. Pounded into small pieces and put up 
into the nostrils with honey it purges through the mouth. 
It is also called cerdon, catharsis , struthiocamelus, or 
chamaerrhytos; the Magi call it chalyriton, the Latins, radix , 
or herba I an aria, the Egyptians, oeno, and the Africans call it 
syris. 


2-194. KUKL AMINOS 

suggested: Cyclamen cyclaminus, Cyclamen europaem 
[Linnaeus], Cyclamen littorale, Cyclamen officinale 
— Cyclamen, Sow Bread, Bleeding Nun 
Cyclamen graecum — Greek Cyclamen 

C yclaminus has leaves like cissus, a purple colour, 
varied, with whitish spots beneath and above; a 
stalk of four fingers high, bare and naked, on which are 
flowers similar to roses, tending to a purple colour; the 
root black, very similar to rape [coleseed] root and 


323 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


somewhat broader. Taken as a drink with honey water it 
drives phlegm and water [fluids] downwards. It induces 
the menstrual flow either taken in a drink or placed 
below. They say that if a woman great with child walks 
over the root that she aborts, and that tied around her it 
hastens the birth. It is taken as a drink with wine against 
deadly poisons, especially against the sea hare. Applied, 
it is a remedy against the bites of snakes, and mixed with 
wine it causes drunkenness. Three teaspoonfuls (taken in 
a drink with passu m [raisin wine] or honey diluted in 
water) drives away yellow jaundice, but whoever drinks 
it must lie down on his bed in a warm house not open to 
the wind, and be covered with many cloths so that he 
may sweat (more easily). The sweat that comes out is 
found to be a bile colour. Juice from cydaminus is put into 
the nostrils with honey to purge the head. It is inserted on 
wool into the perineum to bring down excrement from 
the bowels. Rubbed on the navel and the lower part of 
the bowels and the hips it softens the bowels, and 
produces abortions. The juice rubbed on with honey is 
good for bathing the eyes and moisture of the eyes. It is 
also mixed with medicines that cause abortion. The juice 
rubbed on with vinegar restores a fallen perineum. The 
pounded root is juiced and squeezed out, the juice then 
boiled to the consistency of honey. The root with vinegar 
(either alone or with honey) cleans the skin, stops 
pustules from breaking out and cures wounds. Applied, 
it softens the spleen (and reduces it). It takes away 
sunburn, and [repairs] the loss of hair. A decoction 
applied with hot cloths is suitable for dislocations, gout, 
little ulcers on the head and chilblains. Boiled in old oil 
and the oil smeared on, it brings wounds to a scar. The 
root is made hollow, filled with oil, and set over warm 
ashes (and sometimes a little Tyrrhenian [Etruscan] wax 
is added so that it is gluey). This is an excellent ointment 
for those troubled with chilblains. The root is kept in 
storage, cut in pieces like squill. It is said that it is 
pounded and made into lozenges and taken with 
catapotia [pills]. It grows in shady places, especially under 
trees. It is also called cissanthemon, cissophylon, chelonion, 
ichthyotheron, chuline, zoroastris, or trimphalites ; Osthenes 
calls it aspho, the Magi, mi aspho, the Egyptians, theske, the 
Romans, rapum terrae, umbilicus terrae, or orbicularis, and 
it is also called arcar. 


324 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


i$4 Cyclaminus rotunda, 
Kunb 



325 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


452 Struthmm fatiuum, 

©eyffertfraut* 



326 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-195. KUKL AMINOS ETERA 


suggested: Cyclamen psuedo-graecum 

T he other cyclamen (also called cissanthemon or 
cissophylon ) has leaves similar to cissus but smaller; 
thick, knotty stalks rolling around the trees that grow 
next to them, similar to the tendrils of vines. The flowers 
are white and fragrant, and the fruit is bunches of berries 
similar to CISSUS, soft, single, sharp to the taste and 
viscous. The root is useless. It grows in rough places. One 
teaspoon of the fruit (taken in a drink with two cups of 
white wine [daily] for forty days) melts the spleen, and 
brings down the intestines by urine. It is taken in a drink 
for asthma. Taken in a drink it purges away the residue 
[placenta] after childbearing. 

2-196a. DRAKONTION MECA 

suggested: Dracunculus [Fuchs], Dracunculus polyphyllus, 

A rum dracunculus [Linnaeus], D racunculis vulgaris [in 
Sprague], Arum dracunculus, Dracunculus vulgaris, 
Dracontia radix — Dragonwort, Common Dragon, 
Dragon Arum, Snake Plant, Lords and Ladies 

D racontium maius grows in shady places around 
hedges. It has a smooth upright stalk about two feet 
in height and the thickness of a staff around, over- 
coloured according to the time, so that it resembles a 
dragon, and it abounds in purple spots. It has leaves like 
lapathum [2-140] folded within one another. It brings 
forth a fruit on the top of the stalk in clusters — at first an 
ash colour, but when ripe inclining to a saffron and 
purple colour. It has a very great root, round, white, with 
a thin bark. It is gathered and juiced when thoroughly 
ripe, and dried in the shade. The root is dug up during 
harvest, washed, cut in small pieces, thrust through with 
a thong and dried in the shade. It is warming, taken in a 
drink with diluted wine. Boiled or roasted it is good 
(taken as a linctus [syrup] with honey) for orthopnoea 
[form of asthma], hernia, convulsions, coughs, and 
dripping fluids. Taken in a drink with wine it stirs up the 
vehement desire to sexual intercourse [aphrodisiac]. 
Pounded into small pieces with honey and applied, it 


327 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


takes away the malignancy of ulcers and eating ulcers 
(especially with the white vine [bryony]). Suppositories 
are formed from it with honey for fistulas, and for use as 
an abortifacient. It is good for vitiligines [form of leprosy] 
smeared on with honey. It takes away polyps and 
diseases of the cornea. The juice is good for eye 
medicines, small clouds in the eye, white spots on the 
cornea, and mistiness in the eyes. The smell of the root or 
herb is destructive of recent conceptions [abortifacient], 
as are thirty grains of the seed (taken in a drink with posed 
[hot drinks]). Some pour the juice of this (with oil) into 
the ears of those with earache, and apply the leaves as an 
astringent on new wounds, as well as boiled in wine to 
those with chilblains. They say that a viper shall not bite 
those who rub the leaves in their hands or carry the dug 
up root about them. It is also called aron, isaron, iaron, 
hieracicus, biaron, aron agreste, or cy peris- the Romans call it 
colubrina, some, mauriaria, and others call it sigingialios. 

2-196b. DRAKONTION MIKRON 


suggested: Hydropiper rubeum, Dracontion micron, 

D racunculus minor [Fuchs], D racunculus Plinii, 

D racunculus palustris [Bauhin], Calla pa/ustris [Linnaeus] 

— Water Arum 

SEEDS POISONOUS 

D racontium or dracunculus has large leaves similar to 
cissus with white spots and an upright stalk forty 
inches high, over-coloured, like the shape of a snake, 
spotted with purple spots, and the thickness of a stalk. 
The fruit on the top is similar to clusters of grapes, the 
colour at first indeed similar to grass but when ripe 
similar to saffron, biting to the taste. The root is round 
and bulbous, similar to aron [2-197], with a thin bark. It 
grows in shady places around hedges and mounds. The 
juice of the seed (pressed out and put with oil into the 
ear) stops earaches. Put into the nostrils with wool it 
destroys polyps. Rubbed on, it stops diseases of the 
cornea [eyes]. As much as thirty grains (taken as a drink 
with posca [hot drinks]) cause abortion. They say that the 
smell of it after the flowers have withered destroys newly 
conceived embryos [abortifacient]. The root has a 
warming quality and helps asthma, hernias, convulsions. 


328 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Cucumis melo 
after THIEBAULT — 1888 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


DracimcuTus maior* 131 

©: o£ 6c$an0enfraut. 



330 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


coughs, and dripping fluids. It makes the moisture 
sticking in the chest easily expectorated given either 
boiled or roasted with honey, or else eaten alone. Dried 
and pounded fine it is taken in syrup with honey. It is 
diuretic and (taken in a drink of wine) stirs up affections 
to sexual intercourse [aphrodisiac]. Pounded fine with 
white bryony and honey it cleans malignant and 
spreading ulcers and brings them to a scar. Salves are 
made from it for fistulas, and for bringing out the embryo 
[abortifacient]. They say that if any one rubs his hands 
with the root he remains unbitten by a viper. It cleans 
away vitiligines [form of leprosy] rubbed on with vinegar. 
The leaves pounded into small pieces are effectively 
applied to one newly wounded instead of flax seed. For 
chilblains it is boiled in wine and applied. Wrapped in the 
leaves, cheese is kept from putrefying. The juice of the 
root is good for small clouds in the eye, white spots on the 
cornea, and dim vision. The root is used for health (eaten 
either boiled or raw). Those who live in the Gymnesian 
Isles called Baleares mix the boiled root with a lot of 
honey and place it in their banquets instead of placentae 
[cakes]. The roots must be put in jars by those who dug it 
up during the harvest, having first washed them, cut 
them in small pieces, made a thread go through them and 
dried them in the shade. 

2-197. ARON 


suggested: A rum vulgarenon maculatum [Brunfels] 

Arum colocasia,Arum esculent a, Colocasia anti quorum, 
Colocasia esculenta,Caladium nymphaefolium 
— Egyptian Arum, Colocasia, Eatable Arum, Taro 
A rum maculatum [Linnaeus] — Sago 

A ron sends out leaves similar to those of dracontium, 
yet smaller and less spotted; a faint purple stalk 
twenty centimetres long in the shape of a pestle, in which 
is fruit inclining to a saffron colour. The root — white like 
that of dracontium — is also [a vegetable] eaten boiled, 
and is somewhat less sharp. The leaves are preserved in 
salt for eating. Dried, they are boiled and eaten by 
themselves. The roots, seeds and leaves have the same 
strength as dracontium. Particularly the root, applied with 
bullock's dung to those troubled with gout, does them 


331 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


good. The root is stored in the same way as the root of 
dracunculum. In brief it is edible because it is not 
oversharp. It is also called lupha; among the Syrians it is 
called alimon, some call it thymon, some, dracontium, and 
the Cyprians call it colocassion. 

2-198. ARISARON 


suggested: Arum arisarum, Arisarum vulgare— Aris, 
Friar's Cowl 

A risarum is a small little herb with a root the size of an 
olive tree's, but it is sharper than aron [arum]. As a 
result (rubbed on) it prevents gangrenous ulceration of 
the cheeks. Salves are made from it that are effective for 
fistulas, but either put in or applied it destroys the 
genitals of any living creature. 



Asphodel 

Asphodelusluteus 

after FAGUET — 1888 


2-199. ASPHODELOS 


suggested: Asphodel us foemina [Fuchs], Li Hum purpureum 
[Brunfels], L ilium martagone [Linnaeus], A sphodelus albus, 

A sphodelus ramosus — Asphodel, King's Rod 

A sphodelus is a plant (known to most) with leaves 
similar to the great leek and a smooth stalk. On the 
top is a flower called an thericon . The roots are underneath 
— somewhat long, round, similar to suppositories, sharp 
to the taste, and warming in strength. A teaspoonful of 
these (taken in a drink of wine) induces the movement of 
urine and the menstrual flow. They also cure pains of the 
side, coughs, convulsions and hernia. It causes easy 
vomiting if as much as a knucklebone is eaten with meat. 
As much as three teaspoonfuls given to those bitten by 
snakes is effective; and you must apply a poultice made 
of the leaves, root and flowers with wine to bites. The 
sediment of wine boiled together with the root cures 
filthy feeding ulcers, inflammation of the breasts, stones 
[kidney, urinary], tubercula [nodules], and boils or 
inflammatory tumours, but for new inflammation [it is to 
be applied] with polenta. The juice of the root with old 
sweet wine, myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] and saffron, (boiled 
together) is an excellent medicine to rub on the eyes. 
Either alone or warmed together with frankincense. 


332 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



333 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


131 DracunctiTusPImtj tertius. 
tPaffer 0 d>knjjenEr<uir. 


D raamculus Plinij tertius 
from FUCHS — 1545 



334 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


honey, wine and myrrh it is good to put into purulent 
ears. The juice (alone) poured into the opposing ear, 
lessens toothache. The burnt ashes of the root are rubbed 
on to thicken thinned hair. The oil (boiled in the 
hollowed roots over a fire) is rubbed on ulcerated 
chilblains and burns; and poured into the ear it helps 
earache. The root is smeared on to take away vitiligo alba 
[type of leprosy] that is first rubbed with a napkin in the 
sun. The seed and flowers (taken in a drink of wine) are 
an extraordinary remedy against the strikes of 
millipedes, centipedes and scorpions. However they 
purge the intestines excessively. It bears flowers at the 
time of harvest but white asphodel US must be cut down 
around the vernal equinox before the seed increases. 
They say that the root (taken in a drink) makes men have 
no appetite for pursuit of sexual pleasure 
[anaphrodisiac]. And Crateuas the herbalist says the 
same and that one teaspoonful of the root (taken as a 
drink with wine) cures the pains of gout. It is also called 
anthericum, and the Romans call it albucium. 

2-200. BOLBOS EDODIMOS 

suggested: Bulbus sylvestris [Fuchs], Ornithogalum luteum 
[Bauhin, Linnaeus], Gagea lutea [in Sprague] 

— Yellow Star of Bethlehem 

T he edible red bulbus that is brought from Africa is well 
known to all; good for the stomach and bowels. That 
which is bitter and similar to the squill is better for the 
stomach and helps digestion. All are sharp and warming, 
provoke sexual intercourse [aphrodisiac], and are harsh 
to the tongue and tonsils. They are very nourishing and 
replenish flesh but they breed wind. Rubbed on they are 
good for dislocations, bruises, splinters, sore joints, 
gangrene, and gout (applied either with honey or by 
themselves). They are good for oedema from dropsy, and 
the bites of dogs (applied similarly with honey, and 
pepper pounded into small pieces). They repress sweats 
and alleviate pains in the stomach. Roasted with saltpetre 
[potassium nitrate] they clean away dandruff and 
running sores on the head. They clean bruises below the 
eyes applied either alone or with the yolk of an egg, and 
with honey or vinegar [they also remove] varos [smallpox 


335 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


pustules], as well as freckles. With polenta they are good 
for broken places of the ears, and for bruise ointments. 
They take away piles [haemorrhoids] roasted in hot 
embers and applied with the burnt heads of fish called 
maenae. Burnt and mixed with alcyonium [5-136] and 
rubbed on in the sun they take away sunburn and black 
scars. Boiled and eaten with vinegar they are good for 
hernias. Care must be taken of feeding too much on them 
because they hurt the sinews. Boiled with polenta and 
applied with swines' grease it quickly brings oedema and 
tubercles [growths] to suppuration and breaks them. 

2-201. BOLBOS EMETIKOS 


suggested: Scilla amoena — Nodding Squill 
Ornithogalum arabicum — Great-flowered Star of Bethlehem 



U rginea maritima 
after FAGUET — 1888 


B ulbus vomitorius has more flexible leaves — similar to 
a bridle and far bigger than the edible; and a root 
with a black bark similar to the bulbus [above]. The root 
eaten alone (as well as a decoction of it taken as a drink) 
cures disorders of the bladder and encourages vomiting. 

2-202. SKILLA 

suggested: Scilla maritima [Linnaeus] 

0 rnithogalum maritima, U rginea scilla, U rginea maritima 
— Medicinal Squill, Sea Onion, Squill 

VERY POISONOUS 

S cilla is sharp and burning but it is roasted and made 
useful for man's purposes. It is wrapped in dough or 
clay and put into an oven or hidden under hot coals until 
the dough that enfolds it is sufficiently baked. When 
taken off (if the squill within it is not tender) we shall bake 
it again, placing other dough or clay around it — for that 
which is not thus roasted is hurtful if given, especially if it 
is (taken inwardly) carried to the bowels. It is likewise 
baked in a tightly-corked ceramic ]ar and put into an 
oven, and of that the very middle part is taken, the part 
around the outside of it being thrown away. It is then cut 
into pieces and boiled, the first water thrown away and 
fresh water poured on it, until the water becomes neither 
bitter nor sharp. It is also cut into pieces and dried in the 


336 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Bulfrus (yltieftris* 


*S 





337 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 



338 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


shade and the pieces thrust through with a little linen 
thread, so that the parcels may not touch one another. 
These pieces we use to manufacture oil, wine, and 
vinegar of squills. 

For cracks in the feet the inner part of the raw squill is 
applied (either boiled in oil or else dissolved with rosin). 
Boiled with vinegar it is a plaster for those bitten by 
vipers. Mixing eight parts of roasted salt (pounded into 
small pieces) to one part of roasted squill we give one 
spoonful or two of it to those fasting for softening the 
bowels. Put into liquid medicines and aromatic 
medicines it is good for those in whom we wish to induce 
movement of urine, for dropsy, a stomach in which the 
meat swims above, jaundice, griping, those troubled with 
a cough for a long time, the asthmatic, and those who spit 
up (blood). Thirty grains (taken as a syrup with honey) is 
sufficient. It is boiled together with honey and eaten for 
the same purposes, very much facilitating mixtures. It 
also draws out the slimy stuff that sticks in the bowels. 
Boiled and taken in the same way it does the same, and 
must be avoided by those who have an inward 
ulceration. Roasted squill (rubbed on) is good for hanging 
warts and chilblains. The seed (pounded into small pieces 
and eaten with a dried fig or honey) softens the bowels. It 
is also an antidote against poison hanged up whole 
before doors. 


2-203. PANICRATION 

suggested: Pancratium maritimum, Scilla pancratium 
— Sea Pancratium Lily, Sea Daffodil 

P ancratium (also called the little squill) has a pale red or 
pale purple root similar to the great bulbus, and a 
bitter burning taste. The leaves are similar to lilies but 
longer. It has a similar strength and preparation as the 
squill and the same dose [is to be taken of it]. It is good for 
the same disorders but has a milder nature than squill. As 
a result the root (juiced and mixed with flour of ervum 
[2-129, 2-131] and formed into tablets) is effective given 
with honey water for the spleen, and dropsy. 


339 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


2-204. KAPPARIS 


SUGGESTED: Capparis spinosa — Common Caper Bush, Caper 

C apparis is a prickly shrub spread in a round 
circumference on the ground. There are prickles on 
the bush, crooked like a hook. The leaves are round 
(similar to those of the malicottoon [quince] tree), and the 
fruit similar to olives. On opening it first sends forth a 
white flower, which, falling off, there is found something 
in the shape of of a long suppository. When opened this 
has little red grains similar to those of a pomegranate. The 
many roots are woody and great. It grows only in rough 
barren places, islands, and in courtyards belonging to 
houses. Both the stalk and fruit are preserved in salt to 
eat. It disturbs the belly, is worthless for the stomach, and 
causes thirst. Eaten boiled it is better for the stomach than 
raw. Two teaspoonfuls of the fruit reduces the spleen 
(taken in a drink with wine daily for forty days); it also 
expels urine and bloody excrement. The same (taken in a 
drink) helps sciatica and palsy, and is good for hernia and 
convulsions. Boiled in vinegar and used as a mouthwash 
it dries out the menstrual flow, draws away mucus in the 
head, and it lessens toothache. The dry rind of the root is 
good for the things spoken of before, and also cleans 
away every old, filthy, hard ulcer. It is laid (with barley 
meal) on those troubled with spleen, and the root is bitten 
to help a pained tooth. Pounded into small pieces with 
vinegar it takes away white vitiligines [form of leprosy]. 
The leaves and root pounded together dissolve hard 
lumps, scrofulous tumours [glandular swelling], and 
goitres. The juice poured in the ears ki lls worms in there. 
The African caper (especially that which grows near the 
people called M armaridae ) causes excessive gaseousness. 
That in Apulia encourages vomiting, but that from the 
Red Sea and Arabia is extremely sharp, raising pustules in 
the mouth and eating up the gums to the bare bone, 
therefore it is useless for eating. It is also called cynosbatos 
(as we would say, dog's bush), capria, the apple of a crow, 
ophioscorodon, or ophiostapllylen (i.e. snake's grape), 
thallian, petraea, holophyton, ioniten, or otigocloron, aconitum, 
hippomanes, or trichomanes. The Magi call it potera, some. 


340 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Capparis erythrocarpa 
from ENGLER-PRANTL — 1897 


341 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


fco MalacocnTus minor, 

j-’cijxvAnjenEraut. 



342 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


peuteron ; it is also called the heart of a wolf, or 
haloscorodon, the lily, or thlaspi. The Romans call it sinapi 
Persicum, some, inturis, and the Africans, herbiaeathum. 

2-205. LEPIDION 

SUGGESTED: Lepidium lati folium [Bauhin, Linnaeus] 

— Dittander, Pepperwort, Green Mustard 
Lepidium campestre, Thlaspi campestre— Pepperwort 

L epidium (also called gingidium ) is a well-known little 
herb that is preserved in brine with milk. The leaves 
are sharp and ulcerating. Pounded into small pieces with 
root of elecampane and applied for a quarter of an hour, 
it is a most effective plaster for sciatica. It is also good in 
the same way for the spleen and it takes away leprosy. 
The root is thought to take away toothache, hung around 
the neck. 

2-206. BATRACHION, BATRACHION 
ETERON, BATRACHION TRITON, 
BATRACHION TETARTON 


suggested: Batrachio [Italian], Ran unculis acris — Buttercup, 
Crowfoot, Blister Plant, Asiatic Crowfoot, Persian Buttercup, 
Ranunculus asiaticus — Turban 
R anunculus arvensis — Corn Crowfoot, Corn Buttercup 

Apium sylvestre, Agresteapium, Sderata [Fuchs], 
Ranunculus pa/ustris [Bauhin] , Ranunculus aquati cu s, 

R anunculus scleratus, R anunculus aquati lius 
— Water Crowfoot, Water Anemone 

ALL POISONOUS 

T here are many kinds of batrachium (also called apium 
agreste), but their strength is the same — sharp and 
very ulcerating. One of them has leaves similar to those of 
coriander, yet broader and somewhat white and fat. The 
flower is a yellowish colour and sometimes purple. The 
stalk is not thick, in height about a foot. It has a bitter little 
root, with little fibrous strings growing out (like that of 
hellebore). It grows near rivers or running water. The 
other kind is more downy and longer-stalked, with more 
in-cuttings on the leaves, and is extremely sharp. It grows 


343 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


abundantly in Sardinia where they call it apium agreste. 
There is a third very small kind with a hard taste and a 
flower like gold, and a fourth (similar to this) with a 
flower the colour of milk. The leaves and the tender stalks 
(rubbed on) are ulcerating and scab forming, with pain. 
As a result, applied for only a little time, they take away 
scabby nails and parasitic skin diseases; and they remove 
marks, as well as taking away abscesses, hanging warts, 
and alopecia [baldness]. A lukewarm boiled decoction of it 
is a suitable warm pack for those troubled with chilblains. 
The dried root pounded into small pieces and applied to 
the nostrils causes sneezing. Applied to teeth it eases 
toothache but breaks the teeth. 


2-207. ANEMONE 



Anemonealba 
after FAGUET - 1888 


suggested: Anemone sylvestris [Fuchs ] r Anemone pulsillata 
[Linnaeus], Pulsatilla vulgaris — Pasque Flower [Mabberley] 

Anemone pavonina, Anemone hortensis — Garden Anemone 

POISONOUS 

A nemone has two types — one wild, the other 
cultivated. Of the cultivated some bear flowers in a 
Phoenician [red] colour, others of a pale, milky or purple 
colour. The leaves are similar to coriander but less 
ragged, next to the ground. The little stalks are downy, 
thin, on which are flowers like poppies with the heads in 
the middle black or azure [blue]. The root is the size of 
that of the olive or bigger. The wild is altogether bigger 
than the cultivated, broader and harder in the leaves, and 
it has a longer head. The flower is a Phoenician [red] 
colour; there are many small little roots; and there is one 
kind that has black leaves and is sharper. They are both 
sharp; as a result the juice of the root poured into the 
nostrils helps in purging the head. The chewed root 
extracts mucus. Boiled in passu m [raisin wine] and 
applied it cures inflammation of the eyes, and mends 
scars in the eyes and moisture in the eyes; and it cleans 
the filthiness of ulcers. The leaves and stalks boiled 
together with barley water (and eaten) draw out mi l k 
[breastfeeding]. In a pessary it encourages the menstrual 
flow. Rubbed on it takes away leprosy. 


344 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Cynara scolymus 

from ENGLER-PRANTL — 1897 


345 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


Cochlearia armor ad a 
after FAGUET— 1887 



346 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Some, not being able to distinguish between that 
which is called argemone and the papaver rhoeas [4-64] (of 
which we will speak when we come to discussion of 
poppies) from the wild anemone, because of the 
similarity of the colour of the flowers which are a 
Phoenician colour [red], are deceived calling argemone 
'eupatorium' [4-41], Yet the Phoenician [red] colour of the 
argemone is somewhat less deep, as well as that of the 
rhoeas, and both it and argemone flower later. The argemone 
yields juice of a saffron colour that is extremely sharp to 
the taste, but the rhoeas has a whiter, sharp juice. Both of 
them have little heads between (similar to the wild 
poppy), but those of argemone are somewhat broader at 
the top, and those of rhoeas somewhat narrower. 
Anemones neither give out juice nor have they a head or 
cup, but (as it were) a top like asparagus, and they grow 
them for the most part in fields. 

It is also called wild anemone, black anemone, purple 
anemone, anemion, meconium, tragoceros, gesparine, or 
barbyle. Osthenes calls itberylius, Ornios calls it ceranios, 
Pythagoras calls it atractylis, the Magi, cnicus agrestis, the 
Romans, orci tunica, and the Africans, chuff is. 

2-208. ARGEMONE 

suggested: Papaver argemone, Papaver hybridum 
— Pale Poppy, Wind Rose, Rough Poppy, Cock's Head, 
Sand Poppy 

A rgemone is very like the wild poppy. It has a divided 
leaf similar to anemone, a flower on the stalk a 
Phoenician [red] colour, with a head similar to papaver 
rhoeas [4-64] but somewhat longer and broad towards the 
upper parts, and a round root. It yields sharp juice of a 
saffron colour. The leaves applied as a poultice take away 
argemae [small white ulcers on the cornea] and small 
clouds in the eye, and lessen inflammation. Crateuas the 
herbalist says (to the same intent) that this herb 
argemone pounded together with swines' grease 
dissolves scrofulous tumours [glandular swelling, 
goitres]. It is good for white leprosy dried, pounded with 
saltpetre [potassium nitrate] and sulphur that has not felt 
fire, and sifted. It cures those who use it (rubbed on dry 
first) in a bath. It is also effective against scab [itchy 


347 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


parasitical skin diseases]. It is also called oenone, an them is 
arvensis, or homonoia, (as we should say) concord, or f/os 
campestris; the Romans call it liburnia, or con cordial is, and it 
is also called pergalia; the Gauls call it corn a. 

2-208a. ARGEMONE 

suggested: Papaver armenaicum, Papaver caucasicum, 
Papaver floribundum, Papaver orientate — Poppy species 

T he other argemone is like wild poppy in the leaves. 

Pounded into small pieces (while still green) and 
applied, it is able to cure cuts and lessen inflammation of 
the eyes. It is good (taken in a drink with water) for 
dysentery. It seals wounds and is good applied to 
inflammation. Similarly applied it cures convulsions and 
twitching. It is good (taken in a drink of wine) for those 
bitten by poisonous beasts. It is also called artemone, 
arselam, or sarcocolla; the Romans call it artemonia. 

2-209. ANAGALLIS, KORKOROS 


suggested: Anagallis mas [Fuchs], Anagallis arvensis 
[Linnaeus], A nagallis phoenecea, A nagallis repens, 
Lysimachia adoensis — Scarlet Pimpernel, 

Poor Man's Weather Glass 
A nagallis foemina [Fuchs, Linnaeus], A nagallis coerulea 
— Blue Pimpernel 

POISONOUS — CAUSES ANAEMIA AND DERMATITIS 


[other usage] Korkoros, Corchoris olitorius — Corchorus 

T here are two kinds of anagallis, differing in the flower, 
for that which has an azure [blue] flower is called the 
female, but that of a Phoenician [red] colour is called the 
male. They are little shrubs spreading on the ground, 
with small leaves on their four-cornered little stalks, 
somewhat round, similar to those of helxine [4-39, 4-86], 
with round fruit. They are both lessening in strength, 
drive away inflammation, extract [draw out] splinters or 
thorns that were run into the body, and repress 
gangrenous ulcers. The juice gargled purges the head of 
mucus, and poured into the nostrils it stops toothache. It 
is put in the opposing nostril to the sore tooth. With Attic 


348 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


171 Laftuca fylucftris, 

tPifoer Jlixtrid). 





l/ VS3iK. 



Lactucasylvestris 
from FUCHS — 1545 


349 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


Veronica mas* 
j me? ile* 



350 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


[Athenian] honey it mends argemae [small white ulcers on 
the cornea] and helps moisture of the eyes. It is good 
(taken as a drink with wine) for those bitten by vipers, as 
well as for kidney and liver ailments, and for dropsy, but 
some say that if the anagallis which has the azure [blue] 
flower is applied it stops prolapse of the perineum, and 
that which has the Phoenician [red] flower encourages it. 

Some call it punicea, others, aeritis, aegitis, or sauritis, 
the Magi call it oculi sanguis, others, chdidonion, the 
Romans, macia, the Etruscans, masitipos, the Gauls, sapana, 
the Dacians, cerceraphron . The common anagallis some call 
corchoros, halicacabus, or zeliauros , the Magi, nycteritis , the 
Egyptians call it micij, the Romans, meciato, and the 
Africans, asirrhizi. 


2-210. KISSOS 


suggested: H edera nigra, H edera helix [Fuchs, Linnaeus] 
— Common Ivy 

also: H edera helix poetica, H edera helix vegeta 
[other usage] Cissus quadrangularis, Vitis quadrangularis 
— Edible Stemmed Vine 
Cissus digitata — Wild Grape, Sorrel Vine 



/ SSL/ S has many differences (according to the type) 


V-^but there are three most particular kinds, for some is 
white, some black and another helix [spiralled]. The 
white therefore bears a white fruit, the black a black one 
or sometimes a saffron colour (which the vulgar sort also 
call dionysium ), but the helix [spiralled] is without fruit 
and has white branches and thin leaves, is full of corners 
and red. All cissus is sharp and astringent and touches the 
sinewy parts. The flowers (as much as one can take up of 
them with three fingers) taken in a drink of wine are 
good for dysentery, but it must be taken in a drink twice a 
day. The same amount (pounded into small pieces with 
waxy ointments) are good for burns. The tender leaves 
boiled with vinegar (or the raw ones pounded together 
with bread) heal the spleen. The juice from the leaves and 
berries with irinum [1-66], honey, or saltpetre [potassium 
nitrate] is poured into the nostrils and is good for old 
sores on the head. The head is moistened with this juice 
(with vinegar and rosaceum) [1-53], and with oil it cures 
sore, purulent ears. The juice and clusters [of fruit] (taken 
as a drink) cause sterility, and taken in too great an 


351 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


amount trouble the mind. Five berries from a cluster of 
berries (pounded fine, warmed with rosaceum in a 
pomegranate skin) dropped into the opposite ear during 
toothache lessen the pain. The clusters of berries dye the 
hair black. 

The leaves (boiled as previously mentioned) are laid 
as a poultice on any sort of ulcer; and applied as poultices 
cure sunburn and very bad burns. The clusters of berries 
(pounded fine and given as a pessary) induce the 
menstrual flow. A teaspoonful taken as a drink after 
womens' cleansing hinders conception. The stalks of the 
leaves moistened with honey and put into the vulva 
expel the menstrual flow and are an abortifacient. The 
juice (dropped in) purges away the stinking smell in the 
nostrils and their rotten ulcers. The oozing of cissus 
removes hair [depilatory], and rubbed on it kills lice. The 
juice from the roots (taken as a drink with vinegar) helps 
those bitten by harvest spiders. It is also called cittaros, 
cissaros, chrysocarpos, poetica, corymbias, or cussion, (as we 
would say, hederula ), dionysia, (a sort of bacchicei ), 
ithutherion, persis, cemos, or asplenos; the Romans call it 
silvae mater, some, hedera, and the Gauls, su bites. 

2-211. CHELIDONION 

SUGGESTED: Chelidonium majus [Fuchs, Bauhin, Linnaeus] 

— Swallow Wort, Greater Celandine 

C helidonia the greater sends out a slender stalk the 
height of a foot or more with branches full of leaves. 
The leaves are similar to those of ranunculus, yet those of 
chelidonia are more tender, somewhat a sky blue colour, 
and by every leaf there is a flower like leucoion [3-138]. 
The juice is a saffron colour — sharp, biting, a little bitter, 
and with a strong smell. The root is single at the upper 
end but divided lower down, and a saffron colour. The 
fruit is like horned poppy — slender, long like a cone — 
in which are little seeds, bigger however than those of 
poppy. The juice of this (mixed with honey and boiled in 
a brass jar over coals) is good for sharpening the sight 
[eyes]. The leaves, root and fruit are juiced when they 
emerge in summer. This juice is dried in the shade and 
made into little balls. The root cures jaundice, taken in a 
drink with an i sum [3-65] and white wine; and also 


352 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


*88 Ifatisfariua. 

'Seymifi^Weybt, 



353 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


Ifatfs fvlueftns* 






354 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


applied with wine for herpes [viral skin infection]. It 
lessens toothache if chewed. It seems to be called 
chelidonia because it springs out of the ground together 
with the swallows' appearance and withers with them 
departing. Some have related that if any of the swallows' 
young ones is blind, the female parents bring this herb to 
heal it. It is also called paeon i a, crataea , aoubios, glaucios, 
pandionis radix, philomedion, or othonion ; the Romans call it 
fabium, the Gauls, thona, the Egyptians, mothoth, and the 
Dacians, crustane. 


2 - 212 . CHELIDONION MIKRON 


suggested: Chelidonium minus, Scrofularia [Fuchs] 

M alacocissus minor [Brunfels], Chelidonia rotundifolia minor 
[Bauhin], Ranunculus ficaria [Linnaeus] — Celadine 



helidonia minor (which some have called sylvestre 


K^triticum) is a little herb full of little feet, without a 
stalk (compact), with leaves similar to GSSUS [2-210], yet 
much rounder, smaller, tender and somewhat fat. It has 
many small roots from a single place, growing close 
together like wheat grains, but there are three or four 
which grow out long. It grows around waters and 
marshy places. It is sharp like anemone, ulcerating to the 
outside of the skin. It takes away parasitic skin diseases 
and scabbed nails. The juiced roots are put into the 
nostrils with honey for purging the head. Similarly a 
decoction of it gargled with honey powerfully purges the 
head, and purges all things out of the chest. 


2-213. OTHONNA 


SUGGESTED: 0 thonna — African Ragwort 
0 thonna cheiri folia — Barbary Ragwort 


The plant of the ancients can have had little affinity with that of the moderns 

[Loudon], 


S ome say othonn a is the juice of chelidonia major, some of 
giaucium, some say that it is the juice of the flowers of 
horned poppy, some that it is a mixture of the juices of 
anagallis coerulea [2-209], hyoscyamus [4-69] and poppy, 
and some say that it is the juice of a certain primitive herb 
called othonn a, and that it grows in the part of Arabia that 


355 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


lies towards Egypt. It has only a few leaves (like eruca 
[2-170]) full of holes as though they were wormeaten, ill- 
favoured or mouldy. It bears a broad-petalled saffron- 
coloured flower, as a result some think it to be a kind of 
anemone. It is juiced and put into eye medicines for 
when there is need of cleansing the eyes; it has a biting 
nature and removes all things that darken the pupils 
whatsoever. Some say that there is a certain kind of fluid 
that flows from the herb, which, washing and removing 
the stones from it, they make into lozenges for the same 
use. Some say that othonna is an Egyptian stone found in 
Thebais — the colour of brass, small in size, biting to the 
taste, with a certain kind of burning and astringency. 

2-214. MUOS OTON 


suggested: A Isinem ai or [Fuchs], A Isinemedi a [Bauhin, 
Linnaeus], Stellara media [in Sprague] — Stitchwort, 
Chickweed, Starwort [Mabberley] 

[other usage] M yosotis arvensis — Field Forget-me-not, 
Mouse Ear 

M yosotis aipestris — Myosotis, Forget-me-not 

see 4-87 


M uris auriculae (also called myosotis ) sends out many 
hollow stalks of a somewhat reddish colour 
(toward the lower end) from one root. The leaves are 
somewhat long and narrow with the backbone of them 
standing out, a blackish colour, growing up by distances, 
two and two, ending in a sharp point. Thinner little stalks 
grow out of the wings, on which are little flowers of a sky- 
blue colour, small like those of anagallis [2-209]. The root is 
the thickness of a finger with many hairy strings. The root 
of this (applied) heals ulcers in the inner angle of the eye. 
Finally, the herb is similar to scolopendrium [3-121] yet 
smoother and smaller. Some also call it a/s/ne, myoton, 
anthyllion, myortochon, or myrtosplenon; the Romans call it 
muris auricula, and the Africans, labatholabat. 


356 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


8 Anagalh'smas* 

<S5auc$jeyf romnU. 



Anagallis mas 
from FUCHS — 1545 


357 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


Anagalh's fcemma, s> 

(Sautf l;eyl tceible. 

&■ 



358 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


2-215. ISATIS EMEROS 


suggested: / satis sativa [Fuchs], / satis tinctoria var sativa 
[Linnaeus], Pastel, Glastum — Woad, Ash of Jerusalem, 
Dyer's Weed 

cultivated, POISONOUS — fermented leaves produce indigo blue dye 


I satis sativa (which the dyers use) has a leaf like plantain 
but fatter and darker, and a stalk over two feet high. 
The leaves (applied) are able to dissolve any oedema or 
tumour, heal bloody wounds, stop bleeding, and cure 
spreading ulcers, herpes [viral skin infection] and rotten 
ulcers. It is also called augion, or egne, the Magi call it 
arusium , and the Romans, ruta. 

2-216. ISATIS AGRIA 

suggested: Isatis sylvestris [Fuchs], I satis tinctoria var vulgaris 
[Linnaeus], Isatis campestris — Field Woad 

I satis sylvestris is similar to that mentioned above but it 
has bigger leaves nearly the size of those of lettuce, and 
slender somewhat reddish stalks with many slits. On the 
top hang many little pods similar to tongues in which is 
the seed, and a thin flower of a yellowish colour. It is 
similar in effectiveness to that spoken of before, and is 
also good for the splenetic, taken as a drink and also 
applied. It is also called egneparva ; the Romans call it ruta 
minor. 

(It is to be understood that these descriptions of isatis 
contain that which is erroneous, for the cultivated bears 
both a yellowish flower and more slender and much 
divided branches and little pods on the top, like tongues 
in which are the seeds, but there is contained in these a 
black seed similar to melanthium [3-93], and it bears a stalk 
over two feet high and not only over one foot high. But 
the wild sort bears blacker leaves than this, a lower, 
thicker stalk, a flower of a purple or azure [blue] colour 
and the fruit like a cross, sharp, in which are the seed, 
separated or distinguished in a way by five little leaves 
apiece and those equal. — G oodyer ) 


359 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 



2-217. TELEPHION 


suggested: Telephium album, Tdephium purpurascens [Fuchs] 
Acetabulum alter urn album, Acetabulum alterum purpureum 
[Brunfels], Sedum telephium [Linnaeus], Sedum vulgare, 
Sedum purpureum, Tdefio [Italian] — Orpine, Livelong, 
Midsummer Men 

T elephium is similar to andrachne [2-150] both in the 
leaves and stalk, with two wings sticking from every 
knot of the leaves; six or seven small branches from the 
root, full of azure-coloured [blue] leaves — thick, tough 
and fleshy; the flowers a yellowish or whitish colour. It 
grows in the springtime in vineyards and clay or shale 
places. The leaves applied for six hours cure white 
leprosy, but after this you must use barley meal. Rubbed 
on with vinegar in the sun they take away vitiligines 
[type of leprosy], but after they have dried they must be 
wiped off. Some call it sempervivum sylvestre, and some 
call it portulaca sylvestris, the Romans call it illecebra, the 
Egyptians, anoth, and the Africans, atirtopuris. 



Chdidonium majus 
after FAGUET — 1888 


360 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


90 Tertia ranunculi lutei apud 

D/ofc^fpecics*. 

(Bed 

A 



361 


HERBS WITH A SHARP QUALITY 


Ranunculi quartaapudDio- 91 

fcoridem fpecies la etc a. 
tPdfj (ppalbtfyenlt. 



362 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


BOOK THREE: ROOTS 


I n the previous books, most loving Areius, we have 
talked of spices, ointments, oils, trees and their fruits, 
of lacrymae [resins], as well as living creatures, grains, 
vegetables, and herbs possessing sharpness; but in this 
the third book we will set out an account of roots, juices, 
herbs, and seeds — suitable both for common use and for 
medications. 


3-1. AGARICON 


suggested: Fomes officinalis, Polyphorus officinalis, 

Boletus purgans, Polyphorus igniarius, Boletus laricis, 

U ngulina officinalis — Agaric 
[other usage] A garicus aurantiacus — Orange Mushroom 
A garicus campestris — Common Mushroom 

A garicum is said to be a root similar to silphium [3-94], 
not thick on the outside like silphium, but all thin. 
Some of it is male and some female, of which the female 
excels, having straight veins within, but the male is round 
and grows the same on all sides. In taste both are the 
same, tasting sweet indeed at first; after dissolving it 
grows bitter. It grows in Agaria in the Sarmatian 
(country). Some say it is the root of a tree, some that it 
grows in the stocks of trees that are rotten, like 
mushrooms. It also grows in Galatia in Asia, and in Cilicia 
on the cedars but this is brittle and weak. As for the 
properties of it: it is astringent and warming, good for 
griping, indigestion, hernias, and falls from on high. 
Twenty grains is given with honeyed wine to those not 
feverish, but it is given in honey and water to the 
feverish. For liver ailments, asthma, jaundice, dysentery, 
nephritis, dysuria, womb constriction, and sickly looks a 
teaspoonful is given. To those with tuberculosis of the 
lungs it is given with passu m [raisin wine]; and to the 
splenetic with vinegar and honey. For gastritis it is given 
as it is, chewed and swallowed down without moisture 
poured on it. In a similar way it is given for acidic 
vomiting. Thirty grains (taken with water) stops the 


363 


BOOK THREE: ROOTS 


throwing-up of blood. An equal amount (taken with 
vinegar and honey) is good for sore hips, sore joints, and 
epilepsy. It encourages the menstrual flow, and the same 
weight is effectively given to women with a suffocated 
womb. It dissolves shivering, given before a fever fit. A 
teaspoonful or two (taken as a drink with honey and 
water) purges the bowels. It is an antidote for poison 
taken with one teaspoonful of diluted wine; and thirty 
grains (taken as a drink with wine) helps the strikes and 
bites of snakes. Finally, it is good for all internal disorders, 
given according to strength and age — to some with 
water, to others with wine, and to others with vinegar 
and honey, or honey and water. 

3-2. RA 


suggested: Rabarabo [Italian], Rheum officinale 
— Wild Rhubarb 

Rheum rhaponticum — Rhapontic, Pie Rhubarb, 
Garden Rhubarb 

the leaves are POISONOUS 


R ha grows in places beyond the Bosporus, from where 
it is brought. The root is outwardly black, similar to 
centaury the larger, yet smaller and redder within. It is 
without smell, loose, somewhat light, but the best is not 
wormeaten, and is slimy to the taste with a weak 
astringency. Chewed, it is pale and somewhat similar to 
saffron in colour. 

It is good (taken in a drink) for gaseousness, weakness 
of the stomach, all types of suffering, convulsions, spleen, 
liver ailments, inflammation in the kidneys, griping and 
disorders of the bladder and chest, matters related to 
hypochondria [indigestion with nervous disorder], 
afflictions around the womb, sciatica, spitting up blood, 
asthma, rickets, dysentery, abdominal cavity afflictions, 
flows of fevers, and bites from poisonous beasts. You 
must give it as you do agaric [above] for every disorder — 
allowing the same amounts with liquids, using it with 
honeyed wine to those not feverish, but to the feverish 
give it with honey and water; for tuberculosis with 
passu m [raisin wine]; to the splenetic with vinegar and 
honey; for gastritis chewed as it is and swallowed down 
(no moisture taken with it). It takes away bruises and 


364 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Gentiafta* 

<£nt$ian. 


m 



365 


BOOK THREE: ROOTS 


So3 Chameleon albus, 

igberrotirtj. 



366 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


lichen [papular skin disease] rubbed on with vinegar, and 
it dissipates obstinate inflammations applied with water. 
The chief strength of it is astringency with some heating. 
It is also called rid, the Romans call it rha ponticum, and it is 
also called reon. 


3-3. GENTIANE 


suggested: Gentiana [Fuchs], Gentiana lutea [Linnaeus], 
Asterias lutea, Sweertia lutea — Yellow Gentian 

most bitter plant material known 


G entiana seems indeed first to have been found by 
Gentius the king of the Illyrians from whom it took 
its surname. The leaves are similar to carya [1-178] or 
plantain at the root, somewhat reddish, but those on the 
middle stalk and especially those around the top are a 
little jagged. The stalk is empty, smooth, the thickness of 
a finger, two feet high, divided by joints, surrounded 
with leaves at bigger distances; and with broad fruit in 
cups, light, chaffed, like sphondylium [3-90]. The long root 
is similar to aristolochia [3-4, 3-5, 3-6] — longer, thick and 
bitter. It grows on the highest peaks of mountains and in 
shady watery places. Two teaspoonfuls of the root are 
warming and astringent, and (taken as a drink with 
pepper, rice and wine) it helps those bitten by venomous 
creatures. A teaspoonful of extracted juice is good for 
disorders of the sides, falls from heights, hernia, and 
convulsions. It also helps liver ailments and gastritis 
taken as a drink with water. The root — especially the 
juice — applied as a suppository, is an abortifacient. It is a 
wound herb applied like lycium [1-132], a medicine for 
deep ulcers, and an ointment for inflamed eyes. The juice 
is mixed into the sharper sort of eye salves or 
suppositories in place of meconium [4-65]. The root cleans 
vitiligines [form of leprosy]. It is juiced by being bruised 
and steeped in water for five days, then afterwards boiled 
in the water until the roots appear on top. When the 
water is cold it is strained through a linen cloth, boiled 
until it becomes like honey in consistency, and stored in a 
ceramic jar. It is also called centaurea radix, aloe gallica, 
narce, or chironium, the Trojans call it aloitis, the Romans, 
gentiana, others, cicendia, or cyminalis. 


367 


BOOK THREE: ROOTS 


3-4. ARISTOLOCHIA STROGGOLE 

suggested: Pistolochia [Fuchs], Fumaria bulbosa [Bauhin, 
Linnaeus], Corydalis cava [in Sprague] — Fumitory 

A ristolochia is called this because it is thought to help 
women in childbirth exceedingly well. The round 
type is called female; it has leaves similar to cissus — 
sweet smelling, with sharpness, somewhat round, 
tender, with many shoots on one root. The branches are 
very long, the white flowers are similar to little hats, and 
the red (part) in them has a bad scent. 

3-5. ARISTOLOCHIA MAKRA 

SUGGESTED: A ristolochia pistolochia — Birthwort 

POISONOUS 

T he long aristolochia is called male and dactylitis, with 
leaves somewhat longer than the round aristolochia, 
slender branches of about twenty centimetres length, 
and purple flowers with a bad scent. These, withering, 
become similar to a pear. The root of the round aristolochia 
is like a turnip, but the root of the long kind is the 
thickness of a finger, being twenty centimetres long or 
more. Both of them are mostly of wood colour, bitter to 
taste, and poisonous. It is also called melocarpum, or 
teuxinon, and the Romans call it herba aristolochia. 

3-6. ARISTOLOCHIA KLEMATITIS 


suggested: A ristolochia rotunda [Fuchs], A ristolochia longa 
[Fuchs, Brunfels], Aristolochia clematitis [Linnaeus, Bauhin] 
— Round Aristoloch, Apple of Earth, Common Birthwort 

POISONOUS 

T here is also a third long type which is called clematitis, 
with slender branches full of somewhat long leaves 
similar to the smaller sempervivum [4-89, 4-90, 4-91]. The 
flowers are similar to rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98], bright yellow, 
in a terminal flattened inflorescence. The roots are longer, 
slender, with a thick bark and an aromatic smell. The 
ointment makers use them effectively for thickening 


368 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



369 


BOOK THREE: ROOTS 


Ariftoloch/arotundautilgaris, 51 
=0o!wur^. 



370 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


ointments. One teaspoonful of the round one (taken in a 
drink with wine, and also applied) is indeed good for 
poisons, but the long one is given for poisons of snakes 
and deadly poisons. Taken in a drink with pepper and 
myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] it puts out all remaining bodily 
wastes and the menstrual flow, and is an abortifacient. 
Applied in a pessary it does the same, and the round is 
effective for the things we have mentioned. Moreover, 
taken as a drink with water, it helps asthma, rickets, 
chills, the spleen, hernias, convulsions, and pains of the 
side. Applied, it extracts splinters and prickles, and takes 
off scales on bones. With iris and honey it emarginates 
[removes the edge of] rotten ulcers, and cleans foul ulcers 
and fills up their hollows. It also cleans gums and teeth. It 
is thought that all dematitis is good for these things. Yet 
this has less strength than those previously mentioned. It 
grows in mountainous or warm, level places or else in 
rough, rocky places. It is good for a serious fever, only let 
the one with the fever inhale the smoke over coals and 
the fever will stop. Applied, it heals wounds. With the 
seed of dracunculus [2-196b] and honey it helps 
malignancies in the nostrils. Boiled with oil or swine 
grease and rubbed on it cures chills. (Crateuas the 
Herbalist and Gallus have said the same and that it is 
good for the gouty). It is called arariza, melecaprum, ephesia, 
testitis, pyxionyx, dardanus, or iontitis by some. The Gauls 
call it theximon, the Egyptians, sophoeth, the Sicilians, 
chamaemelum, the Italians, terrae malum , and the Dacians 
call it absinthium rusticum. 

3-7. GLUKORIZA 

suggested: Glycyrrhiza, Liquortia [Fuchs], 
Glycyrrhiza glabra [Linnaeus], Glycyrrhiza laevis, 

L iquortia officinalis — Liquorice Plant 

G lycyrrhiza grows abundantly in Cappadocia and 
Pontus. It is a little shrub, the branches two feet 
high, around which the leaves grow thickly like lentiscum 
[1-90], thick and clammy to the touch. The flower is 
similar to hyacinth; the fruit, the size of the berries of the 
plane tree but sharper, with pods like lentil, red and 
small. The roots are long, the colour of wood, similar to 
those of gentian, somewhat bitter and sweetish. They are 


371 


BOOK THREE: ROOTS 


juiced like lycium [1-132], This juice is good for sharpness 
of the arteries but it must be put under the tongue to let it 
melt. It is good similarly for burning of the stomach, 
disorders in the chest and liver, parasitic skin diseases, 
and bladder or kidney disorders. Taken with a drink of 
passu m [raisin wine] and melted in the mouth it quenches 
thirst. Rubbed on, it heals wounds; and chewed, it is good 
for the stomach. A decoction of the new roots is good for 
the same things. The dry root pounded into small pieces 
is fit for sprinkling on pterygium [membrane on eye]. It is 
also called pontica, glyceraton, symphyton, leontica, 
glycyphyton , scythion, adipson, sylithra, libthestaso, 
homoenomoea, or peenthaomoeos , and the Latins call it dulcis 
radix. 



Centaurea cyan us 
after WINKLER — 1891 


3-8. KENTAURION MAKRON 

suggested: Cyanus, Flos frumentorum [Fuchs], 

Cyanus syivestris [Brunfels], Cyanus segetum [Bauhin], 
Centaurea cyanus [Linnaeus] — Bachelor's Button 

C entaury the great has leaves similar to the carya 
[1-178], somewhat long, green in colour (like those 
of brassica ), the circumference of them cut-in like a saw. It 
has a of stalk two or three feet high like iapathum [2-140] 
with many shoots from the root. On top are heads like 
poppy somewhat large in circumference. The flowers are 
azure [blue], and the seed similar to cnicus [4-119, 4-190] 
(laid as it were) in downy flowers. The root is thick, 
sound, heavy, about two feet long, full of juice, sharp, 
with a certain astringency and sweetness, inclining to 
red. It loves a rich soil open to the sun, woods and 
hillocks. It is abundant in Lycia, Peloponesse, Helis, 
Arcadia, Messenia, Pholoe, Lycia, and around Smyrna. 
The root is good with wine for hernia, convulsions, 
pleurisy, difficulty with breathing, old coughs, 
bloodspitters and those without fevers. For the feverish, 
two teaspoonfuls of the root is given, pounded into small 
pieces with water. Similarly it is given for griping and 
sores of the vulva. It expels the menstrual flow and is an 
abortifacient, shaved into the form of a suppository and 
applied to the vulva. The juice does the same things. 
Pounded whilst moist, it is good for wounds. When dry it 
is first steeped and then pounded. It draws together. 


372 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Spina incognita* i°» 



373 


BOOK THREE: ROOTS 


s° 


An'ftolodiia Tonga, 
£?ohvt’rn. 


A ristolochia longa 
from FUCHS — 1545 





374 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


heals, and joins together flesh that is pale and flaccid, if 
you pound it and boil it. In Lycia they juice it and use it 
like lycium [1-132], It is called panacea [heal-all] because it 
soothes all sores from inflammation and strong blows. 
Used in suppositories it soothes slow and painful 
urination, and helps those with stones [kidney, urinary]. 
It is gathered when the sun is about to rise, in a clear 
season, when everything is at its peak. 

It is also called narce, limnesion, marone, pelethronion, 
chironias or limnestis, the Magi call it blood of Hercules; 
the Romans call it ferum, uvifera, or fel terrae. 

3-9. KENTAURION MIKRON 


suggested: Centaurium minus [Fuchs, Bauhin], 
Centaurea verutum Erythraea centaurium, 

Chironia centaurium, Gentiana centaurium [Linnaeus], 
Centaurium erythraea — Lesser Centaury, Common Centaury, 
Feverwort, Centaury, Earthgall, Dwarf Centaury 


T he little centaury is a herb similar to hy peri cum [3-171] 
or origanum, with a stalk over twenty centimetres 
high that has corners. The flowers are similar to those of 
lychnis [3-114, 3-115], a faint Phoenician [reddish] purple. 
The leaves are small, very long, like rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98]. 
The seed is similar to wheat, the root small, miserable and 
smooth. Pounded while still green and applied it seals 
wounds, and purges old ulcers and brings them to a scar. 
Boiled and swallowed down, it expels bile and thick 
fluids through the bowels. A decoction of it is a fit 
suppository for sciatica, drawing out blood and easing 
pain. The juice is good for eye medicines with honey, 
cleaning away things that darken the pupils. In a pessary 
it extracts the menstrual flow and is an abortifacient. 
Taken as a drink it is equally good for disorders of the 
strength. The herb is juiced; first it is gathered when full 
of seed and steeped in water for five days, afterwards it is 
boiled until it floats above the water. Afterwards the 
cooled herb is pressed and strained through a linen cloth, 
and boiled again to the consistency of honey. Some beat it 
(green and full of seed) then press out the juice and throw 
it into an unglazed ceramic jar. They stir it about in the 
sun, moving it continuously with a stick, and repeatedly 
scraping away pieces that hang out. They mix it with 


Centaurium minus. 
SIcin jTaiifcntgul&m. 



375 


BOOK THREE: ROOTS 


moist juice and cover it carefully at night, for dew 
prevents the thickening of moist juices. Centaury is good 
for inflammation and bruises from strikes, helps women 
troubled with motherhood [pregnancy], and eases the 
pain of slow, painful urination and [urinary] stones. 
Gather the herb in the spring at sunrise. 

Many of the dry roots or herbs that are juiced are 
prepared by boiling (like gentian). Juices pressed out of 
moist barks, roots, or herbs are stirred around in the sun 
(as previously mentioned) — including thapsia [4-157], 
man dr agora [mandrake], unripe grapes, and similar 
things. Lycium [1-132], wormwood [3-26], hypocistis 
[1-127] and herbs similar to these are boiled and stirred 
around as previously mentioned. 

Centaury is also called limnesion, helleborites, or 
am ar an ton, the Magi call it the blood of Hercules, the 
Romans, febrifuga, some, herba multiradix, the Dacians, 
tut bet a; and it is also called / imnai on because it loves moist 
places. 



376 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or 
PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-10. CHAMAILEON LEUKOS 


suggested: Chamaeleon albus [Fuchs, Brunfels], 

Carlina caulescens [Bauhin], Carlina acaulis [Linnaeus] 

— Stemless Carline Thistle 
[other usage] Carlina gummifera, A tractylis gummifera 
— White Chamoeleon 

W hite chamaeleon is called /'x/'a because in some places 
viscous matter is found at the roots of it which 
women use instead of mastic [1-89, 1-90]. It has leaves 
similar to silybum [4-159] or carduus nutans [musk thistle] 
but rougher, sharper, and stronger than the black 
chamaeleon [below]. It does not have a stalk but out of the 
middle puts out a prickle similar to that of the sea urchin 
or cinara. The flowers are a purple colour, like hairs, flying 
away in down, with seed similar to cnicus [4-119, 4-190], 
The root is thick in fertile hills but in the mountains it is 
more slender, white at the bottom, somewhat aromatic, 
with a strong sweet taste. An acetabulum [vinegar cruet] of 
this (taken in a drink) expels broadworms. It is taken in 
hard wine with a decoction of origanum. For dropsy a 
teaspoonful is given with wine to ease them. A decoction 
is taken in a drink for frequent painful urination. Taken 
as a drink with wine it is an antidote to poison. Kneaded 
with polenta then diluted with water and oil it kills dogs, 
swine, and mice. It is also called chrysisceptrum, or ixia; the 
Romans call it carduus nutans varius, the Egyptians, epher, 
and some, epthosephim. 


377 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-11. CHAMAILEON MELAS 


suggested: Chamaeleon niger, Spina incognita [Fuchs], 
Carduus sphaerocephaius [Bauhin ], Echinops sphaerocephalus 
[Linnaeus] — Globe Thistle 
[other usage] Cardopatium corymbosum, 

Carthamus corymbosum, Brotera corymbosa 
— Black Chamoeleon 

B lack chamaeleon has leaves similar to scolymus 
hispanicus, yet they are smaller, thinner and 
distinguished with red. It sends out a stalk the thickness 
of a finger, twenty centimetres high, somewhat red, with 
a tuft and prickly flowers — small, similar to hyacinth, 
variously-coloured. The root is thick, black, compact and 
sometimes eaten-into. When cut it is a pale yellow, and is 
biting when chewed. It grows in dry rocky grounds and 
places bordering the sea. The root (pounded into small 
pieces) is mixed with a little cobblers' ink, cedar oil and 
swines' grease, and used to remove parasitic skin 
diseases. It cleans away lichen [papular skin disease], 
boiled with vinegar and rubbed on (with the addition of 
sulphur and bitumen). It is used as a mouthwash, and a 
decoction of it soothes toothache. Wrapped in same 
amount of pepper and wax it helps pained teeth. Teeth 
are preserved if it is boiled with vinegar and poured on 
them. Conveyed warm through a quill [straw] it breaks a 
sore tooth. It cleans away vitiligines [form of leprosy] and 
sunburn, is mixed with ripening medicines, and applied, 
heals spreading wild ulcers, destroying them. It is called 
chamaeleon because of the various colours of the leaves. 
For these vary, differing according to the place, often 
green, pale, azure-coloured [blue], or red. It is also called 
pancarpon, ulophonum, ixia, cynomachon, ocimoides, cnidium 
coccum, or cynoxylon ; the Latins call it carduus nutans niger, 
some, vernilago, and the Egyptians, sobel. 

3-12. KROKODEILION 

suggested: Carthamus lanatus, Centaurea crocodylium 
— Blush-flowered Centaury 

C rocodilium is similar to black chamaeleon [above] but it 
grows in woody places. It has a long root — light. 


378 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


somewhat broad, with a sharp smell, like nasturtium 
[2-185]. The root warmed in water and taken as a drink is 
able to drive out quantities blood through the nostrils. It 
is given to the splenetic evidently helping them. The seed 
of it (round and double like a buckler [shield]) is diuretic. 

3-13. DIPSAKON 


suggested: D ipsacus albus, Cardo fullonum, 

Carduus fullonius [Fuchs], D ipsacus sativus [Bauhin], 

D ipsacus fullonum — Fullers' Teazle, Draper’s Teazle 
D ipsacus sylvestris — Wild Teazle, Shepherd’s Rod, 
Barber's Brushes 

D ipsacus is also a prickly plant. It has a high stalk full 
of prickles, with leaves enclosing the stalk similar to 
lettuce, two at every knot, tall and prickly, having (as it 
were) some prickly bladders on the middle of the back 
both within and without, and hollow places around the 
two (joining) parts of the leaves so that it gathers water 
from the dew and showers (which is how it got its name). 
On the top of the stalk at every shoot there is one head 
similar to a hedgehog, somewhat long and prickly. Dried 
it turns white, but the head (divided) has small worms 
around the middle of the pith. The root of this (boiled 
with wine and pounded until the thickness of a wax 
ointment) is put in to heal cracks and fistulas in the 
perineum. The medicine must be stored in a brass box. 
They say that it is a cure for protruding and hanging 
warts. The worms from the heads (bound up in a purse 
and hanged around the neck or the arm) are said to cure 
those who have fevers with recurrent paroxysms. It is 
also called crocodilium, chamaeleon, or onocardium, some 
call it the bath of Venus, the Romans call it the lip of 
Venus, some, the thistle of Venus, the Egyptians, seseneor, 
some, chir, or meleta, and the Dacians, sciare. 


379 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-14. AKANTHA LEUKE 


suggested: Spina alba sylvestris [Fuchs], 
Onopordium acanthum [Linnaeus] — Cotton Thistle, 
Scotch Thistle 

A cant ha leuke grows on mountains and in woody 
places. It has leaves similar to white chamadeon [3-10] 
but narrower, whiter, somewhat rough and prickly. The 
stalk is over two feet (high), the thickness of the great 
finger or rather more, a pale white, empty within. On the 
top of it there is a prickly head similar to a sea urchin, but 
smaller and somewhat long. The flowers are purple, in 
which is the seed like that of cnicus [4-119, 4-190] but 
rounder. The root (taken in a drink) is good for 
bloodspitters, gastritis, and the abdominal cavity, and it 
encourages urine. It is laid on oedema, and a decoction of 
this as a mouth rinse is good for toothache. The seed 
(taken in a drink) helps convulsed children, and those 
bitten by snakes. They say that worn as an amulet (by 
itself) it drives away poisonous creatures. It is also called 
wild cinara, donacitis, or erysisceptron, and the Romans call 
it spina regia, or card u us. 

3-15. AKANTHA ARABIKE 


suggested: A can thus spinosus — Oyster Plant 

A cant ha arabica seems similar in nature to the white 
thistle — astringent, good for excessive [menstrual] 
discharges of women, the throwing-up of blood and 
other discharges — the root being similarly effective. It 
grows in rough places. It is also called acanthi sa, while the 
Romans call it spina. 


380 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 




ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 



Centaurea benedicta 
after THIEBAULT — 1880 


382 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-16. SKOLUMOS 


suggested: Scolymus, Cinara, Articocalus [Fuchs], 

Cinara hortensis [Bauhin], Cynara scolymus [Linnaeus] 

— Artichoke 

[other usage] Spotted Golden Thistle — Scolymus maculatus 
Golden Thistle, Spanish Oyster Plant — Scolymus hispanicus 

S colymus hispanicus has leaves like chamaeleon [3-10, 
3-11], and the thorn is called white but is darker and 
thicker. It puts out a long stalk full of leaves on which is a 
prickly head. The root lies underneath — black, thick, its 
strength good for those with a bad smell in the armpits 
and the rest of the body [body odour] applied or boiled in 
wine; and taken as a drink as it draws out much stinking 
urine. The new growth of the herb boiled like asparagus 
is eaten instead of a vegetable. It is also called ferula, or 
pyracantha, the Romans call it strobylus, and the 
Egyptians, chnus. 



— 

Carduus scolymus 


after FAGUET — 1880 


3-17. POTERION 


suggested: Poterium officinale— Great Burnet 
Poterium sanguisorba, Sanguisorba minor — Salad Burnet 
A stragalus poterium, A stragaius arnacantha 
— Small Goat's Thorn 

P oterium is a large shrub with long branches — soft, 
flexible like a bridle, thin, similar to tragacanth — the 
leaves little, round. The whole shrub is surrounded with 
a thin woolly down and is prickly; the flowers are small 
and white. The seed (to one who tastes it) has a sweet 
scent and is sharp with no use. It grows in sandy and hilly 
countries. The roots are underneath, two or three feet 
long, strong and sinewy. When cut close to the ground 
they send out a fluid similar to gum. The roots (cut and 
smeared on) heal cut-apart sinews and wounds, and a 
decoction of it (taken as a drink) is good for disorders of 
the strength. It is also called phrynion, or andidotum, and 
the Ionians call it neurada. 


383 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-18. AKANTHION 


UNKNOWN 


A canthi um has leaves similar to the white thorn 
[above] with prickly abnormal growths, and on top 
there is down similar to a spiders web. This is gathered 
and made into one (or spun), and is similar to silk. The 
roots and leaves of this (taken as a drink) help one 
troubled with a painfully stiff neck. 


3-19. AKANTHA ERPEKANTHA 



suggested: A cantha vera, [Fuchs], A can thus sativus, 

A canthus mollis [Bauhin, Linnaeus], A canthus spinosus, 

— Bears Breeches 

A cantha or her paean tha grows in gardens and moist 
rocky places. It has far broader, longer leaves than 
lettuce, divided like those of eruca [2-170], somewhat 
dark, thick and smooth. It has a smooth stalk two feet 
high, the thickness of a finger towards the top, 
surrounded all around by distances with certain longish 
little leaves (similar to little hives) of a hyacinth colour. 
From these the white seed grows out, somewhat long, 
yellowish, with a head similar to a thyrsus [wand]. The 
roots underneath are viscous, mouldy, reddish and long. 
Applied, they are good for burns and dislocations. Taken 
in a drink they encourage urine and stop discharges of 
the bowels. They are good for tuberculosis of the lungs, 
hernia, and convulsions. It is also called me/amphyllon , 
pasderota, acanthus topi aria, mamoiaria, or craepula. 


3-20. AKANTHA AGRIA 


SUGGESTED: A canthus spinosissimus — White-spined Akantha 

T he Romans call acantha sylvestrisby the name of spina 
agrestis. There is also a wild acantha , similar to carduus 
nutans [musk thistle] — prickly, shorter than the garden 
variety that is cultivated. The root of this affects as many 
things as the previous one. 


384 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



385 




ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


u3 D/pfacus purpureus# 
Butm S<meitbiffeR 



386 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-21. ANONIS 

suggested: A nonis, R esta bovis, R emora aratri [Fuchs], 

A nonis spinosa [Bauhin], Ononis spinosa [Linnaeus] 

— Spiny Restharrow 

A non is (also called ononis ) has branches twenty 
centimetres long or more. It is shrubby, full of joints 
with hollow wings, many round little heads, and small 
little leaves, thin like the lentil, similar to those of rue 
[3-52, 3-53, 4-98] or lotus. It grows in meadows and is 
somewhat rough and sweet smelling, not smelling 
unseemly. It is preserved in brine before the prickles 
emerge, and it is very pleasant. The branches have sharp 
strong prickles that are similar to arrowheads. There is a 
white root that is warming and reduces the intensity of 
symptoms. The bark of this (taken in a drink with wine) 
removes skin, breaks up urinary stones, and emarginates 
[removes the edge of] the scurf of ulcers. Boiled in posca 
[hot drinks] and used as a mouth rinse it soothes 
toothache, and a decoction of this (taken as a drink) is 
thought to cure haemorrhoids. 

3-22. LEUKAKANTHA 


suggested: Chrysanthemum leucacanthemum, Leucanthemum, 
[Bedevian] — Ox-eye Daisy, White Weed, Dog Daisy 

L eucacan tha has a root that is similar to Cyprus [1-124] — 
bitter and strong — which is chewed to lessen 
toothache. Three cups of a decoction (taken as a drink 
with wine) helps lung congestion that has lasted long, 
sciatica, hernia, and convulsions. The juice from the root 
(taken as a drink) does the same. It is also called 
polygonatum , or phyllon, others call it ischias, the Romans 
call it gniacardus, and the Thuscans, alba spina. 

3-23. TRAGAKANTHE 


suggested: 4 straga/us tragacantha — Gum Tragacanth Plant, 

Goat's Thorn 

T ragacantha has a root that is broad and woody 
appearing above the earth. From this low strong 


387 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


branches emerge, spreading out. On them are many 
small thin leaves with prickles between hidden in the 
leaves — white, strong, upright. There is also a 
tragacanth gum adhering to the root when it is cut. The 
best is transparent, smooth, slender, clean, and 
somewhat sweet. It is able like [other] gums to close the 
pores. It is used for eye medicines, coughs, roughness of 
the arteries; and for dripping fluids in a linctus [syrup] 
with honey. It melts when put under the tongue. A 
teaspoonful steeped in passu m [raisin wine] is taken as a 
drink for pain of the kidneys and erosion of the bladder. 
Hart's horn that has been burned and washed (or a little 
allom scissile [5-123]) is also mixed with it. 

3-24. ERUNGION 


suggested: Eryngium, Iringus [Fuchs], Eryngium vulgare 
[Bauhin], Eryngium campestre [Linnaeus] 

— Common Eryngo, Field Eryngo, Eryngium 

E ryngium is one of the prickly plants. The new leaves 
are stored in brine and eaten as vegetables. They are 
broad and rough in the circumference, and aromatic to 
the taste. Growing bigger they become prickly at the 
furthest points of the stalks, on the tops of which are little 
round heads surrounded with very sharp prickles like a 
star, hard all around. The colour can be green, pale, 
white, or sometimes azure [blue]. The root is long, broad, 
black on the outside and white within, the thickness of a 
big finger or thumb. It is sweet smelling and aromatic, 
and grows in fields and rough places. It is able to warm, 
and expels urine and the menstrual flow. Taken as a 
drink it dissolves griping and gaseousness. It is good with 
wine for liver complaints, those bitten by venomous 
creatures, and as an antidote for those who have taken a 
deadly drink. It is taken in a drink for the most part with 
one teaspoonful of pastinaca [3-59] seed. It is said that 
used as a personal ornament or rubbed on someone it 
dissolves tubercles [growths]. The root (taken as a drink 
with honey water) cures tetanus and epilepsy. It is also 
called erynge, eryneris, caryon, gorginium, hermium, 
origanum chi uni urn, myracanthum, or moly. The Egyptians 
call it crobysus, the Magi, siserti, the Romans, capitulum 


388 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Eryngt] fpccics* 
^TUngtrew. 

n, i . .jfJh/i. j 


I G9 



Eryngij 

from FUCHS — 1545 


389 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


}0 


Acanthus uera* 
£Oelfd> BcmHftW. 



390 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


car du i, some, carter ae, the Dacians, sicupnoex, the 
Spaniards, ciotocapeta, the Africans, cherdan, or herba 
montana, and some, chida. 

3-25. ALOE 


SUGGESTED: A loe [Fuchs], A loe vulgaris [Bauhin], 
Aloevera [Linnaeus] — Aloe 

A loe has a leaf almost like squill — thick, fat, 
somewhat broad near the stem, broken or 
bow-backed behind, with short, thin prickles along the 
sides. It sends out a stalk similar to anthericum [3-122], has 
a white flower, and seed similar to asphodel US [2-199]. All 
of it has a strong scent and is very bitter to the taste. It has 
only one root like a stake. It grows abundantly and 
thickly in India, and the extracted juice is brought from 
there. It also grows in Arabia, Asia and certain sea- 
bordering places and islands as in Andros. This type is 
not good for extracting juice, but suitable for closing open 
cuts, sores and wounds, pounded into small pieces and 
applied. There is a thick kind of juice that is grainy, one of 
which seems to have the purest substance, the other 
similar to liver. Choose the pure that is undeceitful, 
unstony, glittering, yellowish, brittle, like liver, easily 
melted, and excels in bitterness. That which is black and 
hard to break, refuse. They counterfeit it with gum — 
which is noticed by the taste, the bitterness, the strength 
of the smell, and because it does not fall into pieces (as 
much as the smallest crumb) squeezed in the fingers. 
Some mix acacia with it. 

It is astringent, procures sleep, dries, thickens bodies, 
loosens the intestines, and cleans the stomach, two 
spoonfuls taken in a drink with cold water or warm milk. 
This amount with thirty grains weight of water (or one 
teaspoonful of a drink) stops the spitting of blood and 
cleans jaundice. Swallowed with rosin (or taken either 
with water or boiled honey) it loosens the bowels, but 
three teaspoonfuls fully purges. Mixed with other 
purging medicines it makes them less hurtful to the 
stomach. Sprinkled on dry it heals wounds, and brings 
boils to a scar and represses them. It effectively heals 
ulcerated genitals, and heals the broken foreskin of boys. 
Mixed with sweet wine it cures the joints and cracks in 


391 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


the perineum. It stops discharges of blood from 
haemorrhoids, brings pterygium [membrane on eye] to a 
scar, and takes away bruises and low blood pressure with 
honey. It soothes rough skin, itchiness of the eye corners, 
and headaches, rubbed with vinegar and rosaceum [1-53] 
on the forehead and the temples. With wine it stops the 
hair falling off [alopecia]} and with honey and wine it is 
good for the tonsils, as well as the gums and all sores in 
the mouth. It is roasted for eye medicines in a clean, 
red-hot ceramic jar, turned continuously until it is 
roasted evenly. It is then washed, the sandy part 
separated as useless, and the most fat and smooth taken. 
It is also called amphibion, eryngium, herminum, or 
tragoceros ; the Romans call it aloa, and the Barbarians, aloe. 

3-26. APSINTHION 

suggested: A bsinthium vulgare [Fuchs], Seriphium absinthium 
[in Sprague], Artemisia absinthium [Linnaeus] — Wormwood 

NARCOTIC 

A bsinthium (also called bathypicron) is a well-known 
herb, and the best grows in Pontus and Cappadocia 
on the mountain called Taurus. It is warming, astringent 
and digestive, and takes away bilious matter sticking in 
the stomach and bowels. It is urinary, and keeps one from 
overindulging taken as a drink beforehand. It is good 
(taken as a drink with seseli [3-60 to 3-62] or Celtic nardus 
[1-7]) for gaseousness and pains in the intestines and 
stomach. Three cups of a dilution or decoction of it (taken 
every day) heals lack of appetite and jaundice. Taken as a 
drink and applied with honey it expels the menstrual 
flow. It is good with vinegar for constrictions from 
[eating] mushrooms. It is an antidote given with wine for 
(the poison) of ixia [3-103] and hemlock, the bites of the 
shrewmouse, and bites of the sea dragon [2-15]. With 
honey and saltpetre [potassium nitrate] it is an ointment 
for a synanchic [abscessed] throat; and with water for 
pustules that appear at night. It is used for bruises with 
honey, also for dullness of sight [eyes] and pus-filled ears. 
The vapour of a decoction is used for earache and 
toothache. Boiled with passum [raisin wine] it is a plaster 
for very painful eyes. It is also applied to hypochondria 
[nervous gastric disorder], the liver, a painful stomach. 


392 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



393 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


4 8 ^ Hyfopus hortenfi's* 
(Bar ten 3fpert # 



394 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


and [those] who have suffered long pounded together 
with Cyprian [possibly rose] wax ointment, but for the 
stomach mix it with rosaceum [1-53]. It is good for dropsy 
and the spleen mixed with figs, saltpetre [potassium 
nitrate] and meal of lolium [2-116, 4-140]. 

Especially around Propontis and Thrace a wine is 
made from it which is called absinthe, which they use in 
the absence of fever for the purposes previously 
mentioned. They drink to each other with it in the 
summer thinking it to cause health. It seems that placed 
in chests it keeps the garments uneaten [by moths]. 
Rubbed on with oil it forbids the mosquitos to touch the 
body [insect repellant]. Ink for writing that is made by 
steeping it keeps writings from being eaten by mice. It 
seems that the juice does the same work. We do not allow 
it in liquid medicines as it is bad for the stomach and 
causes headaches. Some counterfeit the juice with boiled 
amurca [sediment of buckthorn oil]. The Egyptians call it 
somi, and the Romans, absinthium rusticum. 

3-27. APSINTHION THALASSION 


suggested : Artemisia maritima, Artemisia pauci flora 
— Sea Wormwood, Garden Cypress, Sea Artemisia 

A bsinthium marinum (also called seriphion ) grows 
abundantly in the Taurus Mountains around 
Cappadocia and in Taphosiris, Egypt. The Isiaci use it 
instead of an olive branch. The herb has thin branches 
similar to the small abrotanum [3-29] with abundant little 
seeds, somewhat bitter, bad for the stomach, and with a 
strong smell. It is astringent with some heating, and 
boiled by itself (or with rice) and taken with honey it ki lls 
ascaridae [threadworms] and roundworms, loosening the 
bowels gently. It does the same things with sapa [new 
wine syrup] or boiled together with lentils. Cattle grow 
very fat feeding on it [fodder]. It is also called sandonion, 
or seriphum ; the Romans call it santonicum. 


395 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-28. APSINTHION TRITON 
SANTONION 


suggested: A rtemisia santonicum — Holy Wormwood 
A rtemisia glacial is — Silky Wormwood, Glacier Wormwood 

T here is a third kind of wormwood that grows 
abundantly in Galatia (or rather Gallia) near the Alps, 
which they call by the place's name — santonicum, giving 
it this surname from its growing in the country of 
Sardonis. It is similar to wormwood, not as seedy, 
somewhat bitter, and able to do the same things as the 
Seriphian [3-27], 


3-29. ABROTONON 


suggested: A brotonum foemina [Fuchs], A bsinthium ponticum 
[Bauhin], A rtemisia pontica, A brotanum mas [Linnaeus], 

A rtemisia abrotanum — Southernwood 

T he female abrotanum is a tree-like shrub, somewhat 
white, the leaves with little in-cuts (like those of 
seriphium ) around the branches, with a golden corymbus 
[flat or slightly convex inflorescence] on the top, full of 
flowers that display in the summer, with a sweet smell, 
and some strength, bitter in taste. This seems to be the 
Sicilian. The other (called male) is full of sprigs, with 
slender seeds like wormwood. It grows abundantly in 
Cappadocia, and Galatia in Asia, and Hierapolis in Syria. 
The seed of these (pounded raw, boiled, and taken in a 
drink of water) helps difficult breathing, hernia, 
convulsions, sciatica, difficult painful urination, and the 
stoppage of the menstrual flow. Taken in a drink of wine 
it is an antidote for deadly poisons. With oil it is an 
ointment for those who have chills. It drives away snakes 
scattered under [foot] or inhaled as smoke. Taken in a 
drink of wine it helps those who are bitten. It is 
particularly good for the strikes of the harvest spider and 
scorpions. It helps inflammation of the eyes applied with 
boiled quince or with bread. It dissolves pannus [opaque 
thickening of cornea with veins; eyes] pounded into 
small pieces and boiled with barley meal. It is also mixed 
in the composition of oil irinum [1-66]. It is also called 
abutonon, absinthium, heraclion, cholopoeon, thelyphthorion, 


396 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Aloeumbellata 
after FAGUET — 1888 


397 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


i lo Pulegium fcemtna* 

poley voeibk. 



398 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


absinthiomenon, or procampylon. The Magi call it nervi 
palmae, some, cynanchites and the Romans, absinthium 
ponticum, and it is also called femineus frutex, and dulcis 
cubitus. 


3-30. USSOPOS 


suggested: Hyssopus hortensis [Fuchs] 
Hyssopus officinalis [Linnaeus] — Hyssop 
Origanum syriacum — Hyssop of the Bible [Mabberley] 


H yssopus (a well-known herb) is of two sorts — one 
mountainous, the other grown in gardens. The best 
grows in Cilicia. It is able to reduce the intensity of 
symptoms and warms. Boiled with figs, water, honey 
and rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98], and taken as a drink it helps 
pneumonia, asthma, internal coughs, mucus, and 
orthopnoea [type of asthma], and kill s worms. Licked 
with honey it does the same. A decoction (taken as a 
drink with vinegar and honey) expels thick fluids 
through the bowels. It is eaten with green figs (pounded 
into small pieces) for emptying the intestines, but it 
purges more forcibly mixed with cardamom, iris, or irio 
[ irinum ? 1-66]. It causes a good colour. It is daubed on 
with figs and saltpetre [potassium nitrate] for the spleen 
and dropsy, but with wine for inflammation. Applied 
with warm water it dissolves bruises. With a decoction of 
figs it is an excellent gargle for a synanchic [abscessed] 
throat. Boiled with vinegar and used as a lotion it soothes 
toothache. The smoke being inhaled, it dissolves 
windiness around the ears. The Latins call it hyssopum, it 
is also called later or cassiala, and the Egyptians call it 
pesa/em. 


3-31. STOICHAS 


suggested: Stichas, Stichas arabica [Fuchs], 

Stoechas purpurea [Bauhin], Lavandula stoechas 
— French Lavender, Spanish Lavender 

S toechas grows in the Islands of Galatia near Messalia 
called the Stoechades, which is how it got its name. It 
is a herb with slender twigs and filaments similar to 
thyme, but longer-leaved, sharp to the taste, and 



Lavandula stoechas 
after WINKLER — 1891 


399 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


somewhat bitter. A decoction of it (like hyssop [3-30]) is 
good for disorders in the chest. It is useful mixed with 
antidotes. It is also called syncliopa, alcibiades, pancration or 
styphonia ; the Egyptians call it suphlo, the Magi, oculus 
pythonis, the Romans, schiolebina. 

3-32. ORIGANOS ERAKLEOTIKE 


suggested: Origanum heracleoticum [Loudon] 

— Winter-sweet Marjoram 

O riganum heracleoticum (also called coni I a) has a leaf 
similar to hyssop [3-30], and a tuft not of a round 
shape but (as it were) divided, and on the tops of the 
sprigs, the seed, not thick. It is warming; as a result a 
decoction of it (taken as a drink with wine) is good for 
those bitten by poisonous beasts. It is given as an antidote 
with passu m [raisin wine] for those who have taken a 
drink of hemlock or meconium [4-65], and with vinegar 
and honey for those who have taken a drink of gypsum 
or ephemerum [4-85]. For convulsions, hernia, and dropsy 
it is eaten with a fig. It is dried and the amount of an 
acetabulum [vinegar cruet] taken in a drink with honey 
and water to expel black (fluids) through the bowels. 
Licked in with honey it induces the menstrual flow and 
cures coughs. A decoction of it in a bath is good for pruri go 
[chronic itching], psoriasis and jaundice. The juice of the 
green herb cures tonsils, [inflammation of the] uvula, and 
apthae [apt ha — infant thrush or candidiasis]. Dropped in 
with oil irinum [1-66] it purges through the nostrils. With 
milk it also soothes earache. A vomitory medicine is made 
from it with onions and rhus [1-147], all of them being 
sunned in the burning heat under the dog [in summer] in 
a brass copper jar for forty days. The herb scattered 
under[foot] expels snakes. 

3-33. ORIGANOS ONITIS 

suggested: Origanum onitis — Pot Marjoram 

T hat which is called onitis is paler in the leaves, 
resembles hyssop [3-30] more, and has seed like 
berries hanging together. It can do the same things as the 
Heracleotic [3-32], Yet it is not altogether as effective. 


400 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


H4- Calaminthae genus* 



T* fZV 


v>-V/ 




wx>^/ ' iv 

_s^N 'AV A '"- ' 1 
jr*- A \ y\;i ' ..> 1 r - 

6 \ Hf 


r^%w»V=^*' 

f ! /^p 


401 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


24-cr Calammthae tertium genus* 

< ftctltVRUn 



402 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-34. AGRIORIGANOS 


suggested: Origanum sylvestre, Origanum vulgare [Fuchs], 
Origanum vulgare [Linnaeus] — Wild Marjoram, Organy 

O riganum sylvestre has leaves similar to origanum, 
but the thin stems are twenty centimetres high, on 
which are tufts similar to dill. The flowers are white; the 
root thin, ineffective. The leaves and flowers (taken in a 
drink with wine) effectively help those bitten by snakes. 
It is also called pan aces heraclion, others call it cunila, as well 
as nicander colophonius. 

3-35. TRAGORIGANOS, 
TRAGORIGANOS ALLOS 

suggested: Satureia thymbra, Thymus tragoriganum, 
Thymus graveolens, M icromeria thymbra — Savory of Crete, 
Candian Savory 

T ragoriganum is a little shrub similar to origanum or 
wild serpyllum [3-46] in its leaves and small branches. 
Some is found that is more prosperous and broader- 
leaved, gluey enough, depending on the location. 
Another (which is also called prasium ) has small shoots 
and thin leaves. The best is the Cilician and those in Co, 
Chios, Smyrna, and Crete. All are warming, urinary, and 
good for the intestines (in a decoction taken as a drink) 
for they drive down depression. Taken in a drink with 
vinegar they are effective for the spleen, and are given as 
an antidote with wine for those who have taken a drink 
of ixia [3-103]. They expel the menstrual flow, and are 
given as linctuses [syrups] with honey for coughs and 
pneumonia. A liquid medicine of it is mild; as a result it is 
given to the squeamish, for gastric [disorders], unsavoury 
belchers, and those who have seasickness, nausea and 
heartburn. It dissolves oedema applied with polenta. 


403 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-36. GLECHON 


suggested: Pulegium [Fuchs], Pulegium foemina [Brunfels], 
Pulegium latifolium [Bauhin], M entha pulegium [Linnaeus], 
Pulegium vulgare i, Glechon [Latin] — Pennyroyal, 
Pudding Grass 

G lechium (a well-known herb) reduces the intensity of 
symptoms and is warming and digestive. Taken as a 
drink it expels the menstrual flow and the afterbirth, and 
is an abortifacient. Taken as a drink with salt and honey it 
brings up stuff out of the lungs and helps the convulsed. 
Taken as a drink with posca [hot drinks] it soothes nausea 
and gnawing of the stomach. It draws out depressive 
matter through the intestines, and taken as a drink with 
wine it helps those bitten by snakes. Applied with 
vinegar to the nostrils it restores those who faint. 
Pounded dry and burnt, it strengthens the gums. Rubbed 
on with polenta it soothes all inflammation. By itself it is 
good for gout (applied) until redness appears. With waxy 
ointments it extinguishes varos [smallpox pustules]. It is 
also good for the spleen applied with salt. A decoction 
soothes itching washed on, and it is good as a bath for 
gaseousness, hardness, and inversions of the womb. It is 
also called blechon because when cattle taste it at its 
flowering time they are filled with bleating. 

It is also called blechron, or ar sen lean thon; the Romans 
call it polium, the Africans, apoleium, the Gauls, albolon, 
and some, gallisopsis. 

3-37. DIKTAMNON 


suggested: Dictamnus albus, Dictamnus fraxinella 
— White Dittany, Gas Plant, Candle Plant, Fraxinella 
Origanum dictamnus, Dictamnus creticus, Amaracus dictamnus 
— Dittany of Crete 

D ictamnus is a Cretian herb — sharp, smooth, similar 
to pulegium [3-36]. It has bigger leaves, downy, with 
a kind of woolly adherence, but it bears neither flower 
nor seed. It does all the things that the cultivated pulegium 
does but much more forcibly, for not only taken as a 
drink but also applied and inhaled as smoke, it expels 
dead embryos. They say that goats in Crete having fed on 


404 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Amaracus, 

STlatouin 



405 



ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


Calaminth^alfcrtim^enus^ ia.< 

tDtibcv pofcy. 



406 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


the herb reject arrows if shot [wounds]. The juice rubbed 
on (alone or with polenta) is cleansing. The herb is 
applied to cure prickles under the feet, or [on] the rest of 
the body. It is also effective for a painful spleen, for it 
lessens it. They gather it in the summer and the fall. The 
root warms those who taste it. It is also a birth-hastener, 
and the juice (taken as a drink with wine) helps those 
bitten by snakes. Such is the strength of this herb that 
even the smell drives away poisonous beasts, and the 
touch kills them. The juice dropped into a wound caused 
by iron, or the bite of a poisonous beast (and as well as 
dropping it on, if it is taken in drink), immediately cures. 

(Rub dried dictamnus in your hands until it is similar to 
meal, throw in a drop of wine and apply it to your body. 
It is good against all snakes. It first cleans ulcers and 
rotten, gangrenous ulcerations, and then it fills them up. 
If one is pricked apply this to him and immediately you 
shall help him. Having made meal of it, apply it for the 
spleen and disorders from inflammation in hidden 
places. Dig up the herb in the spring, the hot seasons, and 
in the autumn.) It is also called pulegium sylvestre, 
embactron, beluacos, artemedion, creticus, ephemeron, eldian, 
belotocos, dorcidium, or elbunium; the Romans call it ustilago 
rustica. 


3-38. PSEUDODIKTAMNOS 


suggested: M arrubium pseudodictamnus, 

Berringeria pseudodictamnus, Ballota pseudodictamnus 
— White Horehound, Bastard Dittany 

T hat which is called pseudodictamnus grows in many 
places and is similar to the one above but less sharp. 
It does the same things as dictamnus , but is not similarly 
effective. 


407 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-39. DIKTAMNOS ALLO 

suggested: Origanum dictamnus, Dictamnus creticus, 

D ictamnus albus, D ictamnus fraxinella, A maracus dictamnus 
— White Dittany, Gas Plant, Candle Plant, Fraxinella 
Origanum hirtum, Origanum creticum — Hairy Marjoram 

A nother kind of dictamnus is brought from Crete that 
has leaves similar to sisymbrium [2-155], but with 
bigger branches, and a flower similar to wild origanum — 
black and soft. The smell of the leaves is most pleasant, 
between sisymbrium and sage. It is effective for all things 
(as that above) but somewhat less biting. It is mixed with 
plasters and antidotal medicines. 

3-40. ELELISPHAKON 


suggested: Salvia maior, Salvia minor [Fuchs, Bauhin], 
Salvia officinalis [Linnaeus] — Sage 

H elelisphacum is a much-branched somewhat long 
shrub, with four-square and somewhat white 
stalks. The leaves are similar to malicottoon [1-160], yet 
longer, sharper and thicker, hidden by filaments — 
whitish, especially odiferous and poisonous-smelling — 
like on outworn garments. The seed is on top of the stalks 
like wild horminum [3-145]. It grows in rough places. A 
decoction of the leaves and branches (taken as a drink) is 
able to induce movement of the urine and the menstrual 
flow, is an abortifacient, and helps the strikes of the 
pastinaca marina [2-22], It dyes the hair black, is a wound 
herb and a blood-stauncher, and cleanses wild ulcers. A 
decoction of the leaves and branches (with wine) applied 
with hot cloths soothes itchiness around the genitals. 
Elelisphacon dissolves chilliness and coughs and is good 
used with rosaceum [1-53] and wax ointment for all bad 
ulcers. Taken as a drink with white wine it cures a painful 
spleen and dysentery. Similarly, given to drink it cures 
bloodspitters, and is available for all cleansing for a 
woman, but the most wicked women (making a pessary 
of it) apply it and use it as an abortifacient. It is also called 
daphoboscon, sphagnon, ciosmin, phagnon, or bed on; the 
Egyptians call it apusi, the Romans, cosalon, and others, 
salvia. 


408 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 




Saluiamaiof* 
® albey. 




JVfjSfN 

Sa/v/'a ma/or 

5 7; W.\ ) 

from FUCHS — 1545 






irm \ im , 
W-flJs vl> 


409 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


300 Melilotf quartum genus* 

Standee. 



410 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-41. EDUOSMOS EMEROS 


suggested: M entha sativa [Linnaeus], M entha viridis 
— Common Mint, Spearmint, Whorled Mint 

M entha piperita — White Mint, Peppermint 

H edyosmus is a well-known little herb that is 
warming, astringent, and drying. As a result the 
juice of it (taken as a drink with vinegar) stops blood, ki lls 
roundworms, and encourages lust [aphrodisiac]. Two or 
three little sprigs (taken in a drink with the juice of a sour 
pomegranate) soothe hiccups, vomiting, and bile. 
Applied with polenta it dissolves suppurations. Applied 
to the forehead it eases headaches. It soothes the swelling 
and extension of the breasts, and with salt it is a poultice 
for dog bites. The juice with honey and water helps 
earache. Applied to women before sexual intercourse, it 
causes inconception. Rubbed on, it makes a rough tongue 
smooth. It keeps m i l k from curdling if the leaves are 
steeped in it. Finally, it is good for the stomach and fit for 
sauce. It is also called men t ha; the Romans call it menta, 
some, nepeta, the Egyptians, tis, others call it pherthumer- 
thrumonthu, perxo, or macetho. 

3-42. EDUOSMOS AGRIOS 


suggested: M entastrum [Fuchs], M entastro [Italian], 

M entha sylvestris, M entha viridis, M entha arvensis [Linnaeus], 
M entha gen til is, Calamintha arvensis [Bauhin] — Wild Mint, 

Horse Mint 

[other usage] M entastro [Italian], M arrubium vulgare 
— Common White Horehound 

see 3-119 


T he wild hedyosmus (which the Romans call 
mentastrum ) has rougher leaves, is altogether bigger 
than sisymbrium [2-155], more poisonous to smell, and 
less suitable for use in health. 


411 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-43. KALAMINTHE 

suggested: Calamintha tertium genus [Fuchs], 

Conyza media asteris [Bauhin], Inula dysenterica [Linnaeus], 
Pulicaria dysenterica [in Sprague] — Fleabane 

Calamintha nepeta, N epeta cataria [Linnaeus] — Catmint, 
Catnip, Nep 

Calamintha officinalis, M eiissa calamintha 
— Common Calamint, Cat Mint 

S ome cal ami ntha is more mountainous, and has whitish 
leaves similar to basil, with the sprigs and stalks 
angular, and a purple flower. The other sort is similar to 
pulegium [3-36] yet bigger, as a result some have called it 
pulegium agreste, because it also has a similar smell. The 
Romans call this nepeta. The third sort is similar to wild 
mint, longer in the leaves, bigger than that previously 
mentioned in the stalk and branch, and it is less effective. 
The leaves of all of them are strongly warming and sharp 
to the taste: the roots are not effective. It grows in plain 
fields and rough watery places. Taken as a drink (or 
applied) it helps those bitten by snakes. A decoction 
(taken as a drink) induces the passing of urine, and helps 
hernia, convulsions, orthopnoea [form of asthma], 
griping, bile, and chills. Taken as a drink (beforehand) 
with wine it is an antidote against poisons and cleans 
away jaundice. Pounded into small pieces (either boiled 
or raw) and taken as a drink with salt and honey it kills 
both roundworms and threadworms. Eaten with the 
whey of milk and taken as a drink (afterwards) it helps 
those with elephantiasis. The leaves pounded into small 
pieces and given in a pessary are an abortifacient and 
expel the menstrual flow. Inhaled as smoke or scattered 
underfoot it drives away snakes. Boiled in wine and 
applied, it makes black scars white and takes away 
bruises. It is applied to sciatica for a medicine to eliminate 
waste or morbid matter, burning the outward skin. The 
juice is dropped in the ears to kill worms. 


412 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



413 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


M elilotus officinalis 
after FAGUET — 1888 



414 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-44. THUMPS 

suggested^ hymus angustifolius, Thymus glaber 
— Wild Thyme, Mother of Thyme 

E veryone knows thyme. It is a little shrub full of 
branches surrounded with many narrow little leaves, 
and little heads with flowers resembling purple on the 
top. It grows chiefly in rocky and barren places. Taken as 
a drink with salt and vinegar it is able to drive out 
phlegmy matter through the bowels. A decoction with 
honey helps orthopnoea [form of asthma] and the 
asthmatic, expels worms and the menstrual flow, is an 
abortifacient, expels the afterbirth, and is urinary. Mixed 
with honey and taken as a linctus [syrup] it makes matter 
come up [vomitory]. Applied with vinegar it dissolves 
new swellings and clots of blood, and takes away thymos 
[hormonal glandular enlargement] and hanging warts. 
Applied with wine and polenta it is good for hip pains. 
Eaten with meat it is good for poor vision. It is good 
instead of sauce for use in health. It is also called white 
thyme, cephalotus, epithumis, or thyrsium; the Romans call 
it thymus, the Egyptians, Stephan e, and the Dacians, 
mozula. 


3-45. THUMBRA 


suggested: Sisymbrium [Pliny] see 2-155, Serpyllum sylvestre 
[Fuchs], Serpyllum vulgareminus [Bauhin], Thymus serpyllum 
[Linnaeus] — Creeping Thyme, Wild Thyme, 

Mother of Thyme 

T hymbra is also well known. It grows in barren and 
rough places — similar to thyme, only smaller and 
more tender, and bearing a stalk full of flowers of a 
greenish colour. It can do the same things as thyme 
(taken the same way) and it is suitable for use in health. 
There is also a cultivated satureia, of less value in 
everything than the wild, yet more effective for meat 
[sauce] because it does not have as much sharpness. 


415 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-46. ERPULLOS, ERPULLOS ZOGIS 

suggested: Thymus, Serpyllum romanum [Fuchs], 
Thymus vulgaris [Linnaeus] — Garden Thyme, 
Potherb Thyme 

H erpyllum is the garden kind, similar to sampsuchum 
[3-47] in smell, and used for making wreaths for the 
head. It is so-called from its creeping, and because if any 
part of it touches the earth, there it roots. It has leaves and 
small branches similar to origanum, yet whiter. Trailed 
down from unmortared walls it becomes more abundant. 
The other is wild and is called zygis — not creeping but 
upright, sending out thin branches full of sprigs, 
surrounded with leaves similar to rue, yet they are 
narrow, longer, and harder. The flower is sharp to the 
taste, sweet to the smell, the root useless. It grows on 
rocks, being stronger and hotter than the garden kind 
and more suitable for medicinal use. Taken in a drink it 
expels the menstrual flow and causes an urge to urinate. 
It helps griping, hernia, convulsions, inflammation of the 
liver and snakebites taken as a drink and applied. Boiled 
with vinegar (with rosaceum [1-53] mixed in there) and 
the head moistened with it, soothes headaches. It is 
especially good for lethargy and frenzy. Four 
teaspoonfuls of the juice (taken as a drink with vinegar) 
stop the vomiting of blood. It is also called zygis sylvestris, 
or polion, the Egyptians call it meruopyos, the Romans, 
serpyllum, others, cicer er rati cum. 

3-47. SAMPSUCHON 


suggested: Sampsuchum, Sampsucum, Origanum majorum 
[Pliny], Amaracus, M aiorana [Fuchs], M ajorana vulgaris 
[Bauhin], Origanum majorana [Linneaus], 

Origanum majoranoides, M ajorana hortensis 
— Sweet Marjoram, Knotted Marjoram 

T he best sampsuchum is the Cyzicenian and the 
Cyprian, but the Egyptian is second to this. It is a 
herb with many branches that creeps along the earth, 
with round rough leaves similar to thin-leaved calamint, 
very fragrant and heating. It is plaited into wreaths for 
the head. A decoction (taken as a drink) is good for those 


416 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Aethusa cynapium, 

Apium rusticum 

Lesser Hemlock or Fool's Parsley 
POISONOUS 

after THIEBAULT — 1881 


417 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 



418 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


who are beginning to have dropsy, and for frequent 
painful urination, and griping. The dry leaves are 
smeared on with honey to take away bruises. In a pessary 
they drive out the menstrual flow; and they are rubbed 
on with salt and vinegar for the strike of a scorpion. For 
dislocations and oedema they are applied with a wax 
ointment. They are rubbed on with flour of polenta for 
inflammation, and mixed with medications to remove 
fatigue, and with softening medicines for warmth's sake. 
The Cyzicenians and those in Sicily call it amaracum. It is 
also called trifolium, amaracum, agathides, cnecion, or 
acapnon; Pythagoras calls it thrambes, the Egyptians, sopho, 
the Armenians, myurum, the Magi call it the ass of the 
priest, others, genitura I si d is, and the Romans, maiorana. 

3-48. MELILOTOS 

SUGGESTED: M dilotus italica, M eliloti quartum genus [Fuchs], 
Trifolium meli lotus corniculata [Linnaeus], 

Trigonella corniculata, Trigonella elatior — Wild Trefoil 

[other usage] M elilotus officinalis, M elilotus arvensis, 
Corona regia, Trifolium melilotus officinalis — Honey Lotus, 
King's Clover, Melilot 

T he best melilotus is the Attic [Athenian] and that 
which grows in Chalcedon — similar to saffron, with 
a sweet scent. It also grows in Campania around Nola, 
inclining to yellow, and weak regarding the sweet smell. 

It is a powerful astringent, and boiled with passu m 
[raisin wine] and applied, softens all inflammation — 
especially that around the eyes, womb, buttocks and 
anus, and the stones [testicles]. Sometimes the roasted 
yolk of an egg is mixed with it, or the meal of fenugreek, 
hemp seed, wheat flour, the heads of poppies, or intybus 
[2-160]. Used alone in water it also cures new melicerides 
[encysted tumour with honey-like exudation], as well as 
scaly eruptions on the scalp, rubbed on with Chian [from 
Scios in the Aegean sea] earth and wine or galls [oak 
galls]. For pain in the stomach boil it with wine or use it 
raw with some of the things previously mentioned. 
Juiced raw and dropped in the ears with passum [raisin 
wine] it eases earache, and when let fall on [the head] 
gently with vinegar and rosaceum [1-53] it soothes 


419 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


headaches. It is also called zoodot ion, and ortamon, or, by 
the Magi, thermuthin; the Egyptians call it haemith, and the 
Romans, sertuia, or trypatium. 

3-49. MARON 


SUGGESTED: T eucrium marum — Marum Germander, 
Cat Thyme 



M arum or hysobrium is a well-known herb full of 
sprigs, similar in the flower to origanum, but the 
leaves of this are much paler, and the flower sweeter. It 
has abilities similar to sisymbrium [2-155] — somewhat 
astringent and gently heating. Applied, it stops 
gangrenous ulceration, and it is mixed with the hot 
ingredients of compound ointments. It grows in 
abundance both near Magnesia and near Tralles. It is also 
called origan is. 


3-50. AKINOS 


suggested: Thymus acinos,Ocimum pilosum, 
A cinos vulgaris — Acinos 

see 3-109, 4-28, 4-176 


A cinus or aeon US is a herb with a small stalk used in 
making wreaths for the head, similar to basil but 
rougher. It has a sweet scent, and is also sown in gardens 
by some. Taken as a drink it stops discharges of the 
intestines, and the menstrual flow. Applied, it heals both 
pan n US [opaque thickening of cornea with veins] and 
erysipeta [streptococcal skin infection]. It is also called 
basilicum sylvestre, and the Romans call it ocimastrum. 

3-51. BAKCHARIS 

suggested: Baccharis, Conyza dioscoroidis, 

Baccharis dioscorides — Bacchar [Bedevian], 
Ploughman's Spikenard 

Baccharis now applied to an American genus of Compositae. 


B accharis is a herb with many stalks and a sweet scent. 
It is used to make wreaths for the head. The leaves 


420 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



421 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


Origanum fylucftre,fcu uulgare. 515 
(Bmeinct Ot>ol0cmur. 





422 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


are sharp, in size between the violet and verbascum 
[4-104]; the stalk angular, a foot in height, somewhat 
sharp, with suckers. The flowers are a purple colour, 
whitish and sweet smelling, and the roots are similar to 
those of black veratrum [4-151], and similar in smell to 
cinnamon. It loves rough, dry places. Boiled in water the 
root helps convulsions, hernia, falls from on high, hard 
breathing, obstinate coughs, and painful urination. It 
expels the menstrual flow, and is usefully given with 
wine to those bitten by snakes. One of the tender roots 
(applied as a pessary) is an abortifacient, and a decoction 
of it is good for bathing women in childbirth. It is good in 
scented powders, having a very fragrant smell. The 
leaves are astringent, and are applied to help headaches, 
inflammation of the eyes, ulcers of the eyes as they begin, 
breasts inflamed from childbearing, and erysipela 
[streptococcal skin infection]. The smell is sleep- 
inducing. 


3-52. PEGANON TO KEPAION, 
PEGANON TO OREINON 


suggested: Peganum harmala — Wild Rue, Syrian Rue, 

Harmel 

Ruta an gusti folia, Ruta chalepensis — Aleppo Rue, Syrian Rue 
Ruta hortensis [Fuchs, Bauhin], Ruta graveolens [Linnaeus] 
— Common Rue, Herb of Grace 

CAUTION — ALLERGIC REACTIONS— OVERDOSE TOXIC OR FATAL 
see 3-53, 4-98 


M ountainous wild rue is sharper than the tame or 
garden rue and unfit for eating. Of the garden 
kind the fittest for eating grows near fig trees. Both are 
sharp, warming, ulcerating, diuretic, and bring out the 
menstrual flow. Eaten (or taken as a drink) they are 
astringent to the bowels. An acetabulum [vinegar cruet] of 
the seed (taken as a drink in wine) is an antidote for 
deadly medicines. The leaves eaten (beforehand) by 
themselves or with cany a [1-178] or dry figs make poisons 
ineffective. The same is taken against snakebites, and 
either eaten or taken as a drink it extinguishes conception 
[abortifacient]. Boiled with dried dill and taken as a drink 
it stops griping. It is good taken as a drink for pain in the 
sides of the chest, hard breathing, coughs, lung 


423 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


inflammation, pains in the hips and joints, and periodical 
chills (as previously mentioned). For gaseousness of the 
col US [colic], vulva, rectum, and intestines it is boiled with 
oil and given as a suppository. Pounded into small pieces 
with honey and applied from the genitals to the 
perineum, it also cures constriction of the womb. Boiled 
in oil and taken as a drink it expels worms. It is applied 
with honey for painful joints, and with figs for dropsy 
under the skin. Boiled in wine until half the amount 
remains then taken as a drink (and also rubbed on) it 
helps these [problems] also. Eaten raw or pickled it is a 
sight-restorer, and applied with polenta it soothes pains 
in the eyes. Pounded fine and applied with rosdceum 
[1-53] and vinegar it helps headaches and stops bloody 
discharges from the nostrils. Applied with bay leaves it 
helps inflammation from stones [urinary, kidney]. With 
myrtle wax ointment it helps rashes such as measles. 
Rubbed on all over with wine, pepper and saltpetre 
[potassium nitrate] it heals white vitiligo [type of leprosy], 
and applied with the same things it takes away warty 
abnormal growths and myrmecias [warts resembling an 
anthill]. Applied with honey and aiiom [5-123] it is good 
for lichenae [skin disease]. The juice warmed in a 
pomegranate rind and dropped in the ears is good for ear 
sores. Rubbed on with juice of mar at hr urn [3-81] and 
honey it helps dullness of sight. Rubbed on with vinegar, 
cerussa [white lead ore] and rosaceum [1-53] it cures 
erysipeia [streptococcal skin infection], herpes [viral skin 
infection], and scaly eruptions on the scalp. Chewed, it 
stops the bad smells that come [from eating] garlic and 
onions. It is also called rhyten montana ; the Romans call it 
ruta montana or ruta hor tense, the Egyptians, epnubu , the 
Syrians, harmala, some, besasa and the Africans, churma. 

The hilly rue kills, eaten too much. Gathered around 
flowering time for pickling it makes the skin red, and 
puffs it up with itching and extreme inflammation.They 
ought, having first rubbed [protection on] the face and 
the hands, so to gather it. They say that the juice 
sprinkled on chicken keeps off the cats. They say that 
eaten, the rue that grows in Macedonia by the river 
Haliacmon kills; but that place is mountainous and full of 
vipers. Taken in a drink the seed is good for disorders 
within, and it is usefully mixed with antidotes. Having 
dried the seed, give it to drink for seven days to one who 
sheds his water [dehydration] and it shall cease. The root 


424 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Hierac/um minus* 
=$ab:d?£raut. 



425 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 



426 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


of it is called mountain moly. The wild rue therefore is 
similar to the cultivated, and it is good (taken in a drink) 
for epilepsy and pains in the hips. It induces the 
menstrual flow and is an abortifacient. It is sharper than 
the cultivated and more effective in use. But you must 
not eat the wild because it is hurtful. 

Ruta sylvestris is also called hypericon , androsaemon, 
corion, or chamepitys ; the Romans call it hederalis, others, 
sentinaiis, and the Africans, churma semmaked. 

3-53. PEGANON AGRION 

suggested: Ruta montana, Ruta legitima, Ruta sylvestris 
— Wild Rue, Mountain Rue 
Thaiictrum aquiiegifoiium — Meadow Rue 
G aiega officinalis — Common Goat's Rue 
Asplenium ruta-muriara — Wall Rue 
Peganum harmala — Wild Rue, Syrian Rue, Harmel 

see 3-52, 4-98 


S ome call ruta sylvestris (both that in Cappadocia and 
that in Galatia near Asia) moly. It is a shrub that brings 
out many shoots from one root, with much longer more 
tender leaves than the other rue. It has a strong scent and 
white flowers, and on the top, little heads a little bigger 
than the cultivated rue, consisting especially of three 
parts, in which is a three-cornered seed of a faint yellow, 
extremely bitter to the taste. Use is made of this. The seed 
ripens in the autumn. Pounded into small pieces with 
honey, wine, the gall of hens, saffron, and marathrum 
[3-81] juice it is good for dullness of the sight. 

It is also called harmala-, the Syrians call it besasa, the 
Egyptians, epnubu, Africans, churwa and the 
Cappadocians, moly, because in some ways it is similar to 
moly (having a black root and white flowers) and it grows 
in hilly fertile places. 

3-54. MOLU 


suggested: A Ilium moly — Wild Garlic 
A Ilium magicum [Loudon] — Homer's Moly 

M oly has leaves similar to grass (but broader) on the 
ground; flowers similar to white violets, a milky 


427 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


colour, less in quantity than those of the violet. It has a 
white stalk of four feet, on the top of which stands 
something similar to garlic. The root is small, in the shape 
of a sca lli on [2-179]. This is very good, pounded with 
flour of lolium [2-116, 4-140] and inserted as a pessary for 
openings of the womb. The herb moly (cut up by the root 
and carried around the body) is good against poisoning 
and bewitching. It is also called leucoion sylvestre. 

3-55. PANAKES HERAKLEION 

suggested: H eracleum panaces — Fig-leaved Cow Parsnip 
H eracleum sphondylium — Common Cow Parsnip 
H eracleum gummiferum, H eracleum pubescens, 

H eracleum pyrenaicum — Downy Cow Parsnip 

P anances heracleum (from which opopanax is gathered) 
grows in abundance in Boeotia, and Psophis in 
Arcadia. It is carefully cultivated in gardens for the 
benefit that comes from the juice. It has rough green 
leaves lying on the ground, coming very near to those of 
the fig, jagged five-fold in the circumference. It has a very 
high stalk (like a ferula ) with white down and smaller 
leaves around it, and a long tuft on the top like dill. It has 
yellowish flowers. The seed smells sweet and acrid. The 
many white strong-smelling roots emerge from one 
beginning, with thick bark and a somewhat bitter taste. It 
also grows in Cyrene, Libya, and in Macedonia. The root 
is juiced after being cut when the stalks are newly- 
emerged. It sends out a white juice that, dried, has a 
saffron colour on the outside. To remove the liquid from 
the leaves they lay them beforehand on a hollow dug in 
the ground and pick them up them when dry. They also 
juice the stalk, cutting it at harvest time and taking out 
the liquid the same way. The best roots are stretched out, 
white, dry, not worm-eaten, hot to the taste, and 
aromatic. The seed that comes from the middle of the 
stalk is good, for that which comes from the sprigs is less 
nourished. The [dried] juice that excels is the most bitter 
to the taste, inside indeed white and somewhat red, but 
outside a saffron colour, smooth, fat, brittle, fit for use, 
melting quickly, and with a strong scent; but the black 
and soft is worthless as it is adulterated with ammoniacum 
[3-98] or wax. Being rubbed in water with the fingers tests 


428 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


EleofelinuXitie Apium paluflrc* i# 
W&ffct £pptdj. 



429 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


114- Careum* 

jVfttfcimcf, 



430 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


it, for the counterfeited dissolves and becomes similar to 
milk. It is warming and softening, and reduces the 
intensity of symptoms. As a result, taken as a drink with 
honey and water (or wine) it is good for periods of acute 
fevers and chills, convulsions, hernia, pains in the side, 
coughs, griping, parasitic diseases in the bladder, and 
slow painful urination. Dissolved with honey it induces 
the menstrual flow, is an abortifacient, and scatters 
gaseousness and hardness in the womb. It is an ointment 
for hip pains. It is mixed with [medicines for] removal of 
fatigue, and with head medicines. It breaks carbuncles all 
around, and rubbed on with raisin clusters it is good for 
gout. It soothes toothache put into tooth cavities, and is 
rubbed on as a sight-restorer for the eyes. Mixed with 
pitch it is an excellent plaster for those bitten by mad 
dogs, and the root shaved and applied to the vulva is an 
abortifacient. Pounded into small pieces and rubbed on 
with honey it is effective for old ulcers, and applied it 
covers exposed bones with flesh. The seed (taken with 
wormwood [3-26]) induces the menstrual flow, and with 
aristolochia [3-4, 3-5, 3-6] it is good for the bites of 
poisonous beasts. It is taken as a drink with wine for 
constriction of the womb. 

3-56. PANAKES ASKLEPION 


suggested: A sclepias syriaca — Milkweed, Silkweed 
Thapsia asclepium [Loudon] — Deadly Carrot 

POISONOUS — A esculapius is the god of medicine — see 3-106 


P anaces Aesculapij sends a thin stalk of a foot's length 
(distinguished by knots) out of the earth, around 
which are leaves similar to marathrum [3-81], yet bigger, 
rougher, and fragrant; and on the top is a tuft on which 
are sharp, fragrant flowers of a golden colour. The root is 
small. The flowers and seeds applied pounded into small 
pieces with honey, have a medicinal quality suitable for 
ulcers, pannus [opaque thickening of cornea with veins], 
and spreading ulcers. For snakebites it is taken as a drink 
with wine and rubbed on with oil. Some call [this] pan aces 
wild origanum, some again call it cunila (where it is 
referred to in the section on origanum). 


431 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-57. PANAKES CHEIRONION 

suggested: Opopanax chironium, Ferula opopanax, 
Laserpitium chironium — Opopanax, Heal-all 

Chiron was a centaur, teacher of Aesculapius [see above]. 


P an aces Chiron ion grows chiefly on the mountain 
Pelius. It has leaves similar to amaracus [white 
dittany], gold flowers, and a slender shallow root that is 
sharp to the taste. Taken in a drink the root is able to act 
against snakes' poison; and the filaments are also applied 
effectively for the same purposes. 

3-58. LIGUSTIKON 

suggested: Ligusticum ajwain, Ammi copticum, 

Carum copticum, Ptychotis coptica, Sison ammi, Ptychotis ajawain, 
Bunium copticum — Ammi, Bishop's Weed, Lovage, 

Ajava Seeds 

see 3-70 


L igusticum grows most plentifully in Liguria on the 
Apennine, a hill bordering on the Alps (from which it 
has its name). The inhabitants call it panaces not without 
reason since the root and the stalk are similar to the 
Heracleotic [3-55] panaces, and their strength is the same. 
It grows on the highest, roughest, shadowy mountains, 
but especially in places dug in the earth. It bears a thin 
knotty stalk similar to dill, around which are leaves 
similar to those of melilot [3-48], yet more tender and 
fragrant. Those near the top stalk are more slender and 
cut-in. On the top is a tuft on which is the seed — black, 
sound, somewhat long, like that of marathrum [3-81], but 
sharp and aromatic to the taste. The root is white, similar 
to the Heracleotic pan aces, fragrant. 

The seed and roots are heating and digestive. They 
are good for internal pains, digestion, oedema, 
gaseousness, disorders of the stomach (especially), and 
strikes from poisonous beasts. Taken in a drink it makes 
urine pass, as well as the menstrual flow. The root 
applied does the same. The roots and the seed are 
effective mixed with oxypota [oxymel — vinegar and 
honey drink] and digestive medicines. It is excellent for 


432 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Hippofelmum, 

(Biof 



433 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


35° Api'umhortcnfe* 

(Barteii j£pptc$. 



434 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


the stomach; as a result the inhabitants use it instead of 
pepper, mixing it with their sauces. A certain seed similar 
to it, which you shall discern by the taste, for it is bitter, 
counterfeits it. Some counterfeit it mixing together with it 
the seed of fennel or seseli. It is also called panacea or 
pan aces. 


3-59. STAPHULINOS AGRIOS, 
STAPHULINOS KEPAIOS 

suggested: Staphylinum [Pliny], Pastinaca sativa prima, 
Pastinaca erratica, Carota [Fuchs], D aucus officinarum [Bauhin], 
D aucus carota var sativa [Linnaeus] — Carrot 

D aucus carota var sylvestris — Wild Carrot 

S taphylinum has leaves like gingidium, only broader 
and somewhat bitter. It has a rough upright stalk 
with a tuft similar to dill on which are white flowers, and 
in the midst something small of a purple colour and of 
almost a saffron colour. The root is the thickness of a 
finger, twenty centimetres long, sweet smelling and 
edible (boiled as a vegetable). The seed induces the 
menstrual flow, taken as a drink (or inserted as a 
pessary), and is good in liquid medicines for frequent 
painful urination, dropsy, and pleurisy, as well as for the 
bites and strikes of venomous creatures. They also say 
that those who take it beforehand shall experience no 
assault from wild beasts. It encourages conception. The 
root (also being urinary) is applied to stir up sexual 
intercourse [aphrodisiac]. The leaves, pounded into small 
pieces with honey and applied, clean ulcers that spread. 
The garden pastinaca is fitter to be eaten, and is good for 
the same purposes, working more weakly. It is also called 
cerascomen ; the Romans call it carota , some pastinaca 
rustica, the Egyptians, babiburu, and the Africans sicham. 


435 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-60. SESELI MASSALEOTIKON 


suggested: Seseli massiliense [Fuchs], 

Gingidium umbella oblonga [Bauhin], Daucus visagna 
[Linnaeus], A mmi visagna [in Sprague], D aucus visagna 
— Pick-tooth, Tooth Pick 

S eseli M assiliensehas leaves similar to marathrum [3-81] 
yet thicker, and it has a stalk more full of branches. It 
has a tuft similar to dill, in which is a seed — somewhat 
long, angular, and quickly sharp if eaten. The root is long 
with a sweet scent. The seed and root are warming: taken 
as a drink they cure slow painful urination and 
orthopnoea [form of asthma]. They are good for urinary 
constriction and epilepsy, induce the menstrual flow, are 
abortifacient, and are effective for all disorders within. 
They cure old coughs, and taken as a drink with wine the 
seed helps digestion and dissolves griping. It is also good 
for cooling [sudden] fevers, and is taken as a drink with 
pepper and wine for chills in childbirth. It is given to 
goats and other cattle as a drink for hastening delivery. It 
is also called sphagnon. 

3-61. SESELI AITHIOPIKON 


suggested: Dauci alterum genus, Seseli aethiopicum [Fuchs], 
Libanotis iati folia altera [Bauhin], Laserpitium lati folium 
[Linnaeus] — Broad-leaved Laserwort [Loudon] 

E thiopian sesel/s has leaves similar to GSSUS [2-210] yet 
smaller and somewhat long, similar to those of 
periclymenom. It is a large shrub with branches of about 
two feet, on which are stems eighteen inches long. The 
little heads are like dill; the seeds black, thick like wheat, 
yet sharper and more fragrant than the Massaleotican 
[3-60], and very sweet. It produces similar effects. The 
Egyptians call it cyonophricen. 


436 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



D aucus carota 
after THIEBAULT — 1881 


437 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


Libyfh'cum miWre, 
£iebfl$cfcl 



438 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-62. SESELI PELOPONNESIAKON 


suggested: Dauci tertium genus, Seseli Peloponnesiacum 
[Fuchs], Peucedanum cervaria [in Sprague], 

D aucus montanus apii [Bauhin], A thamanta cervaria [Linnaeus] 
— Hog Fennel, Wild Celery 

T hat which grows in Peloponnesus has leaves similar 
to hemlock but broader and thicker, and a stalk 
bigger than the Massiliense [3-60], similar to a ferula. On 
the top of this is a broad tuft, in which is a broader seed 
with a sweet scent and more fleshy. It has the same 
strength [as those above]. It grows in rough, moist and 
hilly places. It also grows in Ida. 

3-63. TORDULION 


suggested: D aucus creticus, Tordylon, Seseli creticum [Fuchs], 
A themanta meum [Linnaeus], A ethusa meum, 

M eum athemanticum [in Sprague], A themanticum meum, 
Seseli meum — Bald-money, Meu, Spignel, Bear Root 

see 1-3 

[other usage] Tordyilum suaveolens, Pastinaca dissecta, 
Pastinaca schekakul — Rough Parsnip 
T ordylium officinale — Small Hartwort 
Tordylium maximum— Hartwort 

formerly included in genus Seseli 


T ordylium grows on the hill Amanus in Cilicia. It is a 
little herb full of shoots, with a little round double 
seed similar to little shields, somewhat sharp and 
aromatic. It is taken in a drink for painful urination, and 
to expel the menstrual flow. The juice from the stalk and 
seed (while yet green) taken as a drink for ten days with 
as much as thirty grains of passu m [raisin wine], makes 
any kidney disease sound. The root is licked in with 
honey to draw up matter that stops the chest. It is also 
called tordylum, while others call it creticum. 


439 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-64. SISON 


suggested: Sison amomum, Sium amomum,Sium aromaticum 
— Hedge Sison, Bastard Stone Parsley 

S ison is a little seed similar to apium [3-77] that grows in 
Syria — somewhat long, black, with an acrid taste. It 
is taken in a drink for the spleen, painful urination, and 
retention of the menstrual flow. The inhabitants use it for 
a sauce, eating it with cucurbita [2-164] boiled with 
vinegar. It has (as it were) many little grains on the tops. 

3-65. ANISON 

suggested: A nisum herbariis [Bauhin], Pimpinella anisum 
[Linnaeus], A nisum vulgare, Tragium anisum — Anise, 
Sweet Cumin, Aniseed Plant 

A nisum is generally warming, drying, pain-easing, 
dissolving, urinary, dispersing, and it makes the 
breath sweet. Taken in a drink it takes away thirst caused 
by dropsy. It is also good for removing the poison of 
venomous creatures, and gaseousness. It stops 
discharges of the intestines and white excessive 
discharges, draws down milk, and incites sexual union 
[aphrodisiac]. Inhaled by the nostrils it quietens 
headaches, and pounded into small pieces and dropped 
in the ears with rosaceum [1-53], it heals cracks in them. 
The best is new, full, not branny and strongly scented. 
The Cretian claims the first place, and the second is the 
Egyptian. It is also called si on, and the Romans call it 
anisum. 


3-66. KAROS 


suggested: Caros, Careum [Fuchs], Carum carvi [Linnaeus], 
Apium carvi, Bunium carum — Caraway 

C arum is a well-known little seed. It is urinary, 
warming, good for the stomach, pleasant to the 
mouth and digestive. It is mixed usefully in antidotes and 
oxypota [oxymel — vinegar and honey drink]. It has much 
the same nature as anisum [3-65]. The boiled root is edible 
as a vegetable (like parsnip). 


440 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Spina alba fylucftris 

ZDci§ 





X 

7 - j 

) i , Ga -v' 


r^Vv, 
S’ A- ' 




) 


?Mr r, *%XA m, 





m rm \W 


‘KT A %\ n? 


^ it,/ 

TS.fe 

I -< J ' S ' /y"' 




•I y / "W-v-r 


f •: i <* 

K/, / I I A . X' 

/ / l jr \J/ { / 

K cP~~f ft ''[/ \ f / / 1 ■ / 




/ ,// > S^irM , )! • J 'fj/ _> : -y \ ]•/] / 

f >y ^ y - V\ / (A /, - ^ ' ;/ 

% >, HiA 


Spina alba sylvestris 
from FUCHS — 1545 





j 


< ^K r 


, . V . *- ’ 

sfizXyrr\ \ 



441 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 



442 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-67. ANETHON 

suggested: A nethum hortense [Bauhin] 

Anethum graveolens [Linnaeus], Peucedanum graveolens, 
Selinum athenum, Pastinaca athenum — Dill 

A nethum is eaten as a vegetable. A decoction of the 
dried filaments and the seed (taken as a drink) 
draws down mi l k, soothes griping and gaseousness, and 
stops both the intestines and the vomit that floats on top 
of the stomach; it makes urine pass, it stops hiccups, and 
taken too often as a drink it both dulls the sight and 
extinguishes conception [abortifacient]. A decoction is 
good as a bath for women troubled with womb disorders. 
The seed (burnt and sprinkled on) takes away venereal 
warts. It is also called polgidos or anicetum ; the Magi call it 
genitura cynocephali; similarly, crines cynocephali, or 
genitura Mercurij. The Egyptians call it arachu , the 
Romans, anethum, the Africans, sicciria, and the Dacians, 
poltum. 


3-68. KUMINON AGRION 


suggested: Cuminum cyminum, Cuminum odoratum 
— Cumin 

C umin is cultivated. It has a good taste, especially the 
Ethiopian which Hippocrates called the kingly, next 
the Egyptian, and then the rest. It grows in Galatia, Asia, 
Cilicia, the region of Tarentum and many other places. It 
is hot, astringent, and drying. It is good boiled with oil 
and given as a suppository (or applied with barley meal) 
for griping and gaseousness. It is also given with posca 
[hot drinks] for orthopnoea [difficult breathing], and 
with wine to those bitten by venomous creatures. 
Applied with raisins and bean flour (or waxy ointments) 
it helps inflammation from stones [urinary, kidney]. 
Pounded into small pieces with vinegar it is applied to 
stop women's excessive discharges [menstrual flow] and 
bleeding from the nostrils. It also changes the skin to a 
paler colour either taken in a drink or smeared on. 


443 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-69. KUMINON EMERON 



Lagoecia cuminoide s 
after THIEBAULT - 1881 


suggested: Lagoecia cuminoides — Common Wild Cumin 

C uminum sy/yestre grows in Lycia, Galatia in Asia, and 
Carthage in Spain. These are the most effective. It is 
a little shrub with a thin stalk twenty centimetres long, on 
which are four or five little leaves (as it were) sawn- 
around with incisions (like gingidium [2-167]). It has five 
or six little round, soft heads on the top, in which is the 
husky seed, sharper to the taste than the cultivated. It 
grows in hilly places. The seed is taken in a drink with 
water for griping and gaseousness. With vinegar it 
soothes hiccups. It is taken with wine for the poison of 
venomous creatures and moisture of the stomach. 
Chewed and applied with honey and grapes it takes 
away bruises. Applied with the same [things] it cures 
inflammation from stones [urinary, kidney]. There is also 
another kind of wild cumin similar to the cultivated. Out 
of every flower it sends out little horns lifted up in which 
is the seed (similar to melanthium [3-93]). Taken in a drink 
this is an excellent remedy for those bitten by snakes. It 
helps those troubled with slow painful urination and 
stones [urinary, kidney], and those who urinate drops of 
blood. Afterwards let them drink boiled apium [3-77] 
seeds. The Romans call it cuminum agreste, and some call it 
cuminum silvaticum. 


3-70. AMMI 


SUGGESTED: A mmi majus [Bauhin, Linnaeus] 

— Bishop's Weed, Amee see 3-58 
[other usage] A egopodium podagraria — Ammi [1551], 
Herb Gerard, Bishop's Weed, Goutweed, Ground Elder 



mmi is a well-known little seed, smaller than cumin. 


L JLand similar to origanum in the taste. Choose seed 
that is pure and not branny. This is warming, acrid and 
drying. It is good (taken in a drink with wine) for griping, 
difficult painful urination, and those bitten by venomous 
creatures. It induces the menstrual flow. It is mixed with 
corrosive medicines made of dried beetles [2-65] to resist 
the difficult painful urination that follows. Applied with 
honey it takes away bruises around the eyes. Taken 



Lagoecia cuminoides 
after THIEBAULT - 1881 


444 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Apnrine. 

3Icbfr«ut. 



445 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 



H eradeum sphondylium 
after THIEBAULT — 1881 


446 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


either as a drink or smeared on it changes the [skin] to a 
paler colour; and soaked with raisins or rosin it cleans the 
vulva. The Romans call it ammium A lexandrinum. It is also 
called Aethiopicum, or regium cuminum, but some have 
said that the Ethiopian cumin has one nature and the 
ammi another. 


3-71. KORIANNON 


suggested: Coriandrum [Fuchs], Coriandrum majus [Bauhin] 
Coriandrum sativum — Coriander 

POSSIBLE ALLERGIC REACTIONS 


C or/on or coriannum is well known. It is able to cool. As 
a result (applied with bread or polenta) it heals 
erysipela [streptococcal skin infection] and creeping 
ulcers. With honey and raisins it cures epinyctis [pustules 
which appear only at night], inflammation from stones 
[urinary, kidney], and carbuncles [infected boils] 
[malignant skin tumours]. With bruised beans it dissolves 
scrofulous tumours [goitres] and the inflammation of 
bones. A little of the seed (taken as a drink with passum 
[raisin wine]) expels worms and promotes the creation of 
seed [sperm]. If too much is taken it disturbs the 
understanding dangerously, as a result men ought to 
avoid the excessive and frequent use of it. The juice 
rubbed on with cerussa [white lead ore] or litharge 
[monoxide of lead], vinegar and rosaceum [1-53] mends 
burning inflammation on the outside of the skin. The 
Egyptians call it ochion, and the Africans, goid. 

3-72. IERAKION MEGA 

suggested: Hieracium maius,Sonchites [Fuchs], 

Sonchus arvensis [Linnaeus] — Corn Sowthistle 

[other usage] H ieracium sylvaticum, H ieracium murorum 
— Wood Hawkweed, Wall Hawkweed 

T he great hieracium produces a rough stalk — 
somewhat red, prickly, hollow. It has thinly-jagged 
leaves at distances, similar in circumference to sonchus 
[2-159]; and yellowish flowers in somewhat long little 
heads. It is cooling, indifferent, and gently astringent. As 


Hieracium mauis. 
(S:o[i -FCbicpMUt. 



H ieracium majus 
from FUCHS — 1545 


447 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


a result it is good applied on a burning stomach, and for 
inflammation. The juice is sipped to soothe pangs of 
hunger in the stomach. The herb (with the root) is 
applied to help one bitten by a scorpion. It is also called 
son chi ten; the Romans call itlampuca, and the Africans, 
sithileas. 


3-73. IERAKION MIKRON 


suggested: Hieraceum minus [Fuchs], Crepis tectorum 
[Linnaeus] — Hawksbeard [Mabberley] 

[other usage] H ieracium pilosella — Mouse-ear Hawkweed 

T he little hieracium also has jagged leaves at distances. 

It sends out tender little green stalks on which are 
yellow flowers in a circle. It has the same uses as that 
previously spoken of [3-72], Some call this son chi ten, 
others, entimon agrion, the Romans, intubus agrestis, and 
the Africans, sithilesade. 

3-74. SELINON AGRION, SELINON 
KEPAION 


suggested: A pi um, A pi um hortense [Fuchs], Eieoselinum, 
Apium palustre [Brunfels], A pium graveolens [Linnaeus], 
Apium celleri, Celeri graveolens — Marsh Celery, 

Wild Celery, Celery, Marsh Parsley, Smallage 

[other usage] Seiinum carvifo/a — M ilk Parsley 

T he herb garden seiinum applied with bread or floured 
polenta is good for the same things as coriander (as 
well as for inflammation of the eyes). It soothes burning 
in the stomach, slacks breasts swollen with clotted milk, 
and eaten boiled or raw it causes an urge to urinate. A 
decoction of it with the roots (taken as a drink) resists 
poisonous medicines [antidote] by causing vomiting. It 
stops discharges of the bowels. The seed is more urinary, 
also helping those bitten by poisonous beasts and those 
who have taken a drink of white lead. It also breaks 
winds. It is mixed effectively with pain-easing medicines, 
antidotes and cough medicines. 


448 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



449 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


r,;, . 



Teucrium polium 
after FAGUET — 1888 


450 




THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-75. ELEIOSELINON 


suggested: H eleio selinon [Pliny], A pium palustre, 

Sii primum genus, Laver vulgo dicitur [Fuchs], A pium palustre, 
Sion, [Bauhin], Slum angustifolium [Linnaeus] 

— Water Parsnip 

H elioselinum grows in watery places. It is bigger than 
the cultivated and it has similar effects to the 
garden kind. Some call it cam pest re, others, water 
smallage, and the Romans, apium rusticum. 

3-76. OREOSELINON 


suggested: Oreoselinum, Petroselinum sylvestre [Fuchs], 
Apium hortense, Petroselinum vulgo [Bauhin], 

Apium petroselinum [Linnaeus], Petroselinum hortense [in 
Sprague], Petroselinum sativum, Petroselinum crispum, 

C arum petroselinum, Apium vulgare — Rock Celery, 
Common Garden Parsley 

O reoseiinon has a single stalk twenty centimetres high 
from a slender root. Around it are little branches 
with little heads (similar to hemlock yet a great deal more 
slender) on which is the seed — somewhat long, sharp, 
thin, with a sweet smell, similar to cumin. It grows in 
rocky mountainous places. Taken as a drink in wine both 
the seed and root are urinary, and they also expel the 
menstrual flow. It is mixed with antidotes, diuretics, and 
heating medicines. We must not be deceived thinking 
oreoseiinon is that which grows on rocks, for petroselinum 
is different. It is also called petroselinum sylvestre ; the 
Romans call it apium montanum, and the Egyptians, 
anonim. 


3-77. PETROSELINON 


suggested: Petroseiinum,Amomum officinarum, 
Petroselinum macedonicum [Fuchs], Sison amomum [Linnaeus] 
[other usage] Petroselinum oreoselinum, 

A thamanta oreoselinum — Mountain Parsley 

A pium (also called petroselinum ) grows in steep places 
in Macedonia. It has seed similar to ammi visagna but 


451 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


with a sweeter, sharp, aromatic scent. It is diuretic and 
expels the menstrual flow. It is good (taken in a drink) for 
gaseousness, griping of the stomach, and colus [colic], as 
well as pain in the sides, kidneys, and bladder. It is also 
mixed with urinary antidotes. 

3-78. IPPOSELINON 

suggested: H ipposeiinum, 0 1 us atrum [Fuchs] 
Hipposelinum Theophrasti, Smyrnium Dioscorides [Bauhin], 
Smyrnium olusatrum [Linnaeus], Petroselinum alexandrinum 
— Alexanders, Black Lovage, Horse Parsley, Boeotin Myrrh 

see 1-78 


H ipposelinon is different to that which is properly 
called smyrnium (as we will immediately declare). It 
is bigger and paler than the garden selinum ; the stalk 
hollow, high, tender (as it were) with lines; the leaves 
broader, inclining to purple; over which are filaments 
like I i ban Otis [3-87, 3-89]. It is full of flowers standing 
together in clusters before it has fully opened. The seed is 
black, somewhat long, solid, sharp, aromatic. The root is 
sweet in scent, white, pleasing to the taste, and not thick. 
It grows in shady places and near marshes. It is used as a 
vegetable like selinum [3-74, 3-75]. The root is eaten boiled 
or raw, and the leaves and stalks are eaten boiled. They 
are prepared either by themselves or with fish, and 
preserved raw in brine. Taken as a drink in honeyed wine 
the seed is able to expel the menstrual flow. Taken as a 
drink or rubbed on it heats those who are chilled. It helps 
slow painful urination, and the root does the same. It is 
also called grielon, others call it agrioselinon, or smyrnium, 
and the Romans call it olusatrum. 


452 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Afclepfas* 71 

0c$ivalbettttmr!^ 



ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 



Tri folium pratense 
after FAGUET — 1888 


454 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-79. SMURNION 


suggested: Smyrnium, Levisticum [Fuchs], 

La/isticum vulgare [Brunfels], Ligusticum vulgare [Bauhin], 
La/isticum officinale [in Sprague], Ligusticum la/isticum 
[Linnaeus], Levisticum officinale, Levisticum vulgare, 

A ngelica levisticum — Lovage, Mountain Hemlock 

POISONOUS 

[other usage] Smyrnium dioscorides, Smyrnium perfoliatum 
— Cretan Alexanders 

S myrnium (which they call petroselinum in Cilicia) 
grows plentifully on the hill called Amanus. This has 
a stalk similar to selinum [3-74, 3-75] with many sprigs, but 
the leaves are broader towards the ground. They wind 
around beneath, somewhat thick, strong and sweet 
smelling, with sharpness, and a medicinal scent, and 
inclining to a faint yellow in colour. There is a tuft on the 
stalk similar to that of dill [3-67]. The round seed is similar 
to that of colewort [2-146] — black; sharp, like myrrh 
[1-77, 1-73, 4-116] to the taste, making one for one. The 
root is sharp, fragrant, tender, full of juice, biting the top 
of the throat, with the bark black on the outside, but pale 
within or a faint white. It grows in dry rocky or hilly 
places and unfilled corners. The root, herb and seed are 
warming. The leaves are eaten preserved in brine like 
vegetables, and they stop discharges of the bowels. The 
root (taken in a drink) helps those bitten by snakes; it also 
soothes coughs and orthopnoea [difficult breathing, 
asthma], and heals difficult painful urination. Applied, it 
dissolves recent oedema, inflammations and hard lumps, 
and it brings wounds to a scar. Boiled and applied as a 
pessary it causes abortion. The seed is good for the 
kidneys, spleen, and bladder. Taken as a drink with wine 
it expels the menstrual flow and afterbirth, and is good 
for sciatica. It soothes gaseousness in the stomach, and 
causes sweat and belching. It is especially taken in a drink 
for dropsy, and recurrent fevers. 


455 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-80. ELAPHOBOSKON 

suggested: Elafobosco Vero [Italian], Peucedanum ostrithium, 
I m per atori a ostrithium — Masterwort, 
Broad-leaved Hog's Fennel 

produces peucedanin — see 3-92 


E laphoboscum has a knotty stalk similar to / / ban Otis or to 
marathrum [3-81]. The leaves are two fingers-breadth, 
very long like terminthos [1-91], broken around in a sharp 
way. The stalk has very many little sprigs, with pale 
yellow tufts similar to dill flowers [3-67], and the seed is 
also similar to dill. The root is about the length of three 
fingers, the thickness of a finger, white, sweet and edible. 
The new stalks are eaten [as vegetables] like other herbs. 
They say that deer having fed on this very herb thereby 
resist the bites of snakes, as a result the seed is given with 
wine to those bitten by snakes. 

Some call it daphicum, others nephrium, ophigenium, 
ophioctonon, herpyxe or iyme, the Romans call it cervi 
ocellum, the Egyptians chemis, and the Africans, ascacau. 

3-81. MARATHRON 


suggested: Foeniculum [Fuchs], Foeniculum officinale, 
Foeniculum vulgareGermanicum [Bauhin], 

Foeniculum capillaceum, Foeniculum foeniculum, 
Anethum foeniculum [Linnaeus] — Common Fennel 

[other usage] M arathrum [Bedevian] — Waterweed 

M arathrum (the herb itself), eaten, is able to draw 
down milk [in breastfeeding], as does the seed 
taken in a drink or boiled together with barley water. A 
decoction of the fronds (taken as a drink) is good for 
inflamed kidneys and disorders of the bladder as it is 
diuretic. Taken as a drink with wine it is suitable for those 
bitten by snakes. Taken as a drink with cold water it 
expels the menstrual flow, and lessens the burning heat 
of fevers and nausea of the stomach. The roots (pounded 
into small pieces and applied with honey) heal dog bites. 
Juice from the bruised stalks and leaves (dried in the sun) 
is a useful preparation for eye medicines, such as for 
restoration of the sight. The green seed together with the 


456 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Cnicus benedictus 
from ENGLER-PRANTL — 1897 


457 



ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 



458 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


leaves and branches is juiced for the same purposes, as 
well as the root when the new stems emerge. In Iberia 
towards the west it sends out a liquid similar to gum. The 
inhabitants cut it down around the middle of the stalk 
during its flowering and lay it by the fire so that (as it 
were) in a sweat near the warmth it may exude the gum, 
and this is more effective than the juice for eye medicines. 

It is also called daphicum, nephrium, ophigenium, 
ophioctonon, herpyxe, or lyme, the Romans call it cervi 
OCdlum, the Egyptians, chemis, and the Africans, ascacau. 

3-82. IPPOMARATHRON 


suggested: Foeniculum vulgare— Wild Fennel 

[other usage] H ippomaratrum libanotis, Cachrys libanotis, 
Cachola — Rosemary Frankincense see 3-87 
H ippomaratrum Siculus — Hairy Hippomarathrum 

H ippomarathrum is the tall wild marathrum. It bears 
seed similar to cachryi [3-88]. The root underneath 
has a sweet scent, and taken in a drink cures slow painful 
urination. Applied, it expels the menstrual flow. A 
decoction of the seed and root (taken as a drink) stops 
discharges of the bowels, helps those bitten by poisonous 
beasts, breaks stones [urinary, kidney], and cleans 
jaundice. A decoction of the leaves (taken as a drink) 
brings out milk [breastfeeding], and cleans women after 
childbirth. There is another herb called hippomarathrum 
that has small, slender, somewhat long leaves and the 
round seed is similar to that of coriander, sharp, with a 
sweet scent, heating. The properties of it are similar to 
those above, working more weakly. It is also called 
marathrum sylvestre; the Egyptians call it sampsos, the 
Magi, thymarnolion, Romans, faeniculum erraticum, some, 
faeniculos, others, cuinos, or meum , and the Gauls, 
sistrameor. 


459 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-83. DAUKOS 

suggested: P astinaca sativa, Pastinaca lucida, 
Pastinaca dissecta [Loudon] — Parsnip 
D aucus carota var boissieri — Parsnip, Wild Carrot 

pastinaca is from the Latin for daucus 
see 3-59 


D aucus (which is also called dircaeum ) from Crete has 
leaves similar to marathrum [3-81] yet smaller and 
more slender, a stalk twenty centimetres long, and a tuft 
similar to coriander. The flowers are white, and in these is 
the seed which is sharp, white, rough and sweet smelling 
when chewed. The root is about the thickness of a finger, 
twenty centimetres in length. It grows in rocky sunny 
places. There is another kind similar to wild selinum — 
sharp, sweet smelling and hot to one who tastes it, but 
that from Crete is the best. The third kind has leaves 
similar to coriander, with white flowers, but a head and 
seed similar to dill [3-67], On the head is a tuft similar to 
pastinaca [3-59], full of long seed, sharp like cumin. A 
decoction of the seed of any of them (taken as a drink) is 
warming. It expels the menstrual flow, is an abortifacient, 
induces the flow of urine, and frees one from griping, 
relieving old coughs. A decoction (taken as a drink with 
wine) helps those bitten by harvest spiders. Applied, it 
dissolves oedema. Only the seed of all the others is 
useful, but of the Cretan kind the root is also useful. This 
is taken as a drink with wine (especially) against harm 
from poisonous beasts. 

3-84. DELPHINION 


suggested: Delphinium oxysepalum — Tatra Larkspur 

250 species in genus — POISONOUS 


D elphinium sends out shoots two feet long (or more) 
from one root, around which are little cut-in leaves 
— thin, somewhat long, similar to dolphins (from which 
they are named). The flower is similar to the white violet, 
with a purple colour. The seed in the pods resembles 
milium [3-158], and (taken as a drink in wine) helps those 
bitten by scorpions like nothing else can. They also say 


460 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Atracflylfs hirfimotv 67 
(fatSobcnctict* 



461 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


ffff AtracftylisuuTgarts minor. 
< Semeinttc t»ilber 



462 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


that scorpions grow faint and become inactive and numb 
when the herb is applied to them, and when it is taken 
away they are restored to their former state. It grows in 
rough sunny places. It is also called di achy si S, diachytos, 
paralysis , camaros, hyacinthus, delphinias, nerion, nereadium, 
sosacros, or cronios ; the Romans call it buccinus minor. 


3-85. DELPHINION ETERON 


suggested: Delphinium datum 

250 species in genus — poisonous 


T he other delphinium is similar to that above, yet is 
much more slender in the leaves and branches. It has 
the same properties as that previously mentioned, but it 
is not altogether as effective. It is also called hyacinthum ; 
the Romans call it bucinus. 



I Delphinium peregrinum 

after FAGUET — 1894 


3-86. PURETHRON 


suggested: Pyrethrum [Fuchs], Anthemis pyrethrum 
[Linnaeus], Anacyclus pyrethrum [in Sprague] 

— Pellitory of Spain, Alexander's Foot 
[other usage] Pyrethrum tanacetum — Tansy, Cost, Costmary 
Pyrethrum balsamita — Pyrethrum, Feverfew 

P yrethrum is a herb which sends out a stalk and leaves 
like wild daucus [3-83] and marathrum [3-81], and a 
tuft like dill [3-67], The root is long, about the thickness of 
the big finger, similar to hair curled round, extremely 
burning and hot to one who tastes it. It draws out 
phlegm; as a result boiled with vinegar and used as a 
mouthwash it helps toothache. Chewed, it expels 
phlegm; and rubbed on with oil it produces sweats, is 
helpful for long-lasting chills, and is excellent for chilled 
or paralytic parts of the body. It is also called dory cn ion, 
pyrinon, pyroton, pyrothron, or arnopurites ; the Magi call it 
pu rites, and the Romans, salivaris. 


463 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-87. LIBANOTIS 


suggested: Libanotis, A thamanta — Mountain Spignel 

see 1-3, 3-60 to 3-62 


Libanotis cretensis, A thamanta cretensis, A thamanta annua 
— Cretan Carrot, Candy Carrot 
H ippomaratrum libanotis, Cachrys libanotis, Cachola 
— Rosemary Frankincense 

see 3-88, 3-89 


L ibanotis has two types — one of which bears fruit 
called zed by some (or campsanema), the seed of which 
is called cachris [see cachry below]. It has leaves similar to 
marathrum [3-81] but thicker and broader, lying like a 
wheel on the ground, smelling sweet. The stalk is a foot 
and more [in length] with many wings, and on the top is 
a tuft in which is a lot of white seed shaped like a 
vertebra, round, with corners, sharp smelling, similar to 
rosin, and chewed is burning to the taste. The root is 
white, very large, and smells of frankincense. 

The second kind is similar in everything to the first, 
but it bears a broad black seed like sphondylium [3-90], 
sweet-smelling, not burning. The root is black on the 
outer part, but when broken white. That which is called 
infertile (being similar to that mentioned before) sends 
out neither stalk nor flower nor seed. It grows in rough, 
rocky places. The herb of all of them in general (pounded 
and applied) stops haemorrhoids, lessens inflammations 
(such as in the perineum) and venereal warts, and 
dissolves suppurations that are dissolved with difficulty. 
With honey the dry roots clean ulcers, cure griping, and 
are good for those bitten by venomous creatures. A 
decoction (taken as a drink with wine) expels the 
menstrua [menstrual flow] and urine, and applied it 
dissolves old oedemas. Juice from the root and herb 
(mixed with honey and rubbed on) restores the sight. A 
decoction of the seed (taken as a drink) does the same. 
Given with pepper and wine it helps epilepsy, old 
disorders in the chest, and jaundice. Rubbed on with oil it 
causes sweat. Pounded into small pieces and applied 
with lolium meal [2-116, 4-140] and vinegar, it is good for 
hernia, convulsions, and gout in the feet. Mixed with the 
sharpest vinegar it cleans vitiligines [form of leprosy]; and 


464 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Melifiophyllum uerum. 28) 
STlclifieit. 



465 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


4T8 


Teiicr/um* 



466 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


for abscesses we ought to use the kind that bears no 
cachrys [seed], for that is sharp and harsh to the throat. 
Theophrastus speaks of a I i ban Otis growing with erica, 
with leaves similar to wild lettuce, which is bitter, and has 
a short root, but the leaves are paler and sharper than 
those of lettuce. A decoction of this (taken as a drink) 
purges upward and downward. 

3-88. KAGCHRU 

SUGGESTED: Cachrys libanotis — Rosemary Frankincense 
C achrys panaci folia — Parsnip-leaved Cachrys 
Crithmum maritimum, Cachrys maritimum — Samphire, 

Sea Fennel, Peter's Cress 

see 3-87 


C achry is warming and extraordinarily drying, as a 
result it is good mixed with sebaceous treatments, 
and it is sprinkled on the head and wiped off after three 
days for rheumatic eyes. 

3-89. LIBANOTIS 


suggested: Libanotis coronaria, Rosmarinus [Fuchs], 

R osmarinus officinalis [Linnaeus] — Common Rosemary, 

Old Man 

L ibanotis the Romans call rosmarinus and those who 
plait wreaths for the head use it. The shoots are 
slender, around which are small leaves — thick, 
somewhat long, thin, white on the inside, but green on 
the outside, with a strong scent. It is warming and cures 
jaundice. It is boiled in water and given to drink before 
exercises, and then he who exercises bathes and is 
drenched with wine. It is also mixed with remedies for 
the removal of fatigue, and in gleucinum [1-67] ointments. 


467 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-90. SPHONDULION 

suggested: A canthus german ica [Fuchs], 
Sphondylium vulgarehirsutum [Bauhin], 

Heracleum sphondylium [Linnaeus], Sphondylium branca ursina 
— Meadow Parsnip, Cow Parsnip, Hogweed 

JUICE CAUSES BLISTERS AND PERMANENT PURPLE PIGMENTATION 

S phondylium has leaves somewhat similar to platan us 
[1-107] as well as to those of pan ax [3-55]. The stalks 
are a foot high (or rather more) similar to marathrum 
[3-81]. The seed on the top is double, similar to seselis, but 
broader, paler, and huskier, with a strong scent. The 
flowers are white, and the root is white like raphanus 
[2-137], It grows in moist, marshy countries. The seed of 
this (taken in a drink) purges phlegmy stuff through the 
bowels. Taken in a drink it cures the liver, jaundice, 
asthma, epilepsy and constriction of the womb. Inhaled, 
it revives those who fall in a faint. If the head is moistened 
with it (with oil), it is good for fever of the brain, lethargy, 
and headaches. Applied with rue [3-52] it restrains herpes 
[viral skin infection]. The root is given to the jaundiced 
and liverish. Shaved and inserted it eliminates the 
hardness of fistulas [ulcers]. The fresh juice from the 
flower is good for ulcerated and purulent ears. It is also 
preserved, placed in the sun like other juices. It is also 
called arangem, phalangium, asterium, nisyris, sphondulis, 
choradanon, or oenanthe, the Romans call it herba rotularis, 
the Egyptians, apsapher, and the Magi, osiris. 

3-91. NARTHEX 

suggested: Ferula foetida, Ferula puberula, 

N arthex asafoeteda — Asafoetida, Assafoetida 

T he pith of narthex (which the Romans call ferula) 
taken in a drink whilst it is green helps bloodspitting 
and stomach complaints. It is given with wine to those 
bitten by snakes, and put in as a tent [a curved slice 
inserted] it stops flows of blood from the nostrils. Taken 
in a drink the seed helps those troubled with griping. 
Rubbed on with oil it encourages sweating. The stalks 
cause headaches if eaten. They are also preserved in 
brine. The ferula frequently brings forth a stalk fifty 


468 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Artemi'fialati'foh'a. 

Beyfiif. 



469 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


2 H Meliflophyllum uulgare* 
tParr^errfraut, 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


centimetres long. It has leaves similar to marathrum [3-81] 
yet much thicker and bigger, from which (cut in near to 
the root) comes the sagapenum [see 3-95] (gum). 

3-92. PEUKEDANON 

suggested: Peucedanum germanicum [Bauhin] 
Peucedanum officinale [Linnaeus], Selinum officinale, 
Selinum peucedanum — Hog's Fennel, Sulphur Weed 

see 3-80 


P eucedanum sends out a thin, slender stalk similar to 
marathrum [3-81]. It has thick hairs in abundance 
around the root. The flower is yellow; the root black, with 
a strong scent, very full of liquid. It grows on shady hill s . 
The liquid is taken as follows: the root whil s t still tender is 
cut with a knife, and that which flows from it is presently 
placed in the shade (for under direct sunlight it is 
coloured immediately). Gathering it causes headaches 
and brings on vertigo if you do not rub your nostrils 
beforehand with rosaceum [1-53], and also wet your head 
beforehand with it. The root becomes useless having lost 
its liquid. The stalks and the root have their liquid 
removed like mandrake and are juiced, but this liquid 
does not work as well and quickly becomes useless. 
Sometimes a fluid similar to frankincense is found, 
already congealed, sticking to the stalks and to the roots. 
The juice made in Sardinia and Samothracia is the best, 
with a strong scent, yellowish, warming to the taste. It is 
good rubbed on with vinegar and rosaceum [1-53] for 
lethargy, mental illness, vertigo, and epilepsy, for those 
who have suffered for a long time with headaches, for the 
paralytic, sciatica, and rubbed on with oil and vinegar for 
the convulsed. The scent is good in general for disorders 
of the strength. It should be inhaled for womb 
constriction, revives those who fall in a faint, and drives 
away snakes. It is good for earache dropped in with of oil 
of roses, and put into cavities for toothache. It is good 
(taken with an egg) for coughs. It is effective for hard 
breathing, griping and windy afflictions. It gently 
soothes the intestines, lessens the spleen, and 
wonderfully helps hard labour in childbirth. A decoction 
(taken as a drink) is effective for disorders and matters 
related to the bladder and kidneys. It removes blockages 


471 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


of the womb. The root is effective for the same purposes, 
working less effectively. A decoction of this (pounded 
into small pieces) is taken as a drink. Dried, it cleans foul 
ulcers, removes scales from bones, and heals old ulcers. It 
is mixed with stiff ointments and warm compresses. 
Choose roots that are new, uneaten [by worms], sound, 
full of scent. The liquid is dissolved in pills with bitter 
almonds, rue, and warm bread or dill [3-67]. It is also 
called agrion, or agriophyllon ; the Magi call it bonus daemon , 
some, pinasgetum, and the Romans, stataria. 

3-93. MELANTHION 


suggested: M elanthium hortenseprimum, 

Schwartz Kommich [Fuchs], N igella sativa [Linnaeus] 

— Common Fennel Flower, Black Cumin 

M elanthium alterum Damascenum vocatum, 

N igella hortensis aitera [Fuchs], N igella angusti folia [Bauhin], 

N igella damascena [Linnaeus] — Love in a Mist, 

Devil in a Bush 

M elanthium sylvestre, Cuminum sylvestre alterum [Fuchs], 

N igella arvensis [Linnaeus] 

POISONOUS 

M elanthium is a little shrub with slender shoots two 
feet in length or more. It has small leaves similar to 
senecio [ragwort] but much more slender, and a small little 
head on the top like poppy, somewhat long, with side 
partitions in which are seed — black, sharp, sweet 
smelling, used sprinkled on loaves. It is good applied to 
the forehead for those troubled with headaches. It is 
poured into the nostrils (after it is pounded into small 
pieces with irinum [1-66]) for those who begin to have 
liquids dripping from their eyes. Applied with vinegar it 
takes away freckles, leprosy, old oedema, and hard 
lumps. Applied with old wine it takes away corns that are 
first incised or cut around. It is good for toothache, the 
mouth washed with it (boiled with vinegar and taeda 
[pitch pine]). The nail [fingernail for application] 
smeared with it with water, it expels roundworms. 
Pounded into small pieces, bound up in a loincloth and 
inhaled, it helps those troubled with mucus. Drunk for 
several days it draws out the menstrual flow, urine and 


472 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


45° Scorci/um* 

iPafferbatem#. 



473 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 



Silphium perfoliatum 
after THIEBAULT — 1888 


474 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


milk [breastfeeding], A decoction (taken as a drink with 
wine) eases difficult breathing. A teaspoonful (taken as a 
drink with water) helps those bitten by harvest spiders. 
Inhaled, it drives away snakes. They say that it kills if a lot 
is taken (in a drink). Some also call this mecon agria metana ; 
the Romans call it papaver niger. 

3-94. SILPHION 

suggested: Laserpitium germanicum, Osteritium [Fuchs], 
Imperatoria major [Bauhin], Imperatoria ostruthium [Linnaeus], 
Peucedanum ostruthium [in Sprague] — Masterwort, 
Broad-leaved Hog's Fennel 

There is evidence that the silphium of the ancients was harvested to extinction. 


[other usage] Silphium laciniatum — Compass Plant 

S ilphium grows in places around Syria, Armenia, 
Media and Libya. The stalk, called maspetum, is very 
like ferula [3-95], but with leaves similar to apium [3-77] 
and a broad seed. 

The root is warming, hard to digest, inflative, and 
hurts the bladder. It cures scrofulous tumours [glandular 
swelling, goitres] and tuberculae [nodules] used in a wax 
ointment, or smeared on bruises with oil. With a wax 
ointment of irinum [1-66] and cyprinum [1-65] it is suitable 
for use in sciatica. Boiled in a pomegranate skin with 
vinegar and applied, it takes away abnormal growths 
around the perineum. A decoction (taken as a drink) is an 
antitoxin for deadly medicines. It tastes good mixed with 
sauces and salt. The liquid is gathered from the roots and 
stalks that are cut. Of this the best is somewhat red and 
transparent (emulating myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116]), and 
predominant in its smell, neither scented like leek nor 
unpleasant to taste, and easily changing into a white 
colour. Although you taste ever so little of the Cyrenian, it 
causes dullness over your body, and it is very gentle to 
smell, so that if you taste it your mouth breathes but a 
little of it. The Median and Syrian are weaker in strength 
and they have a more poisonous smell. All the juice is 
adulterated before it is dry, sagapenum [3-95] or bean meal 
being mixed with it, which you shall discern by the taste, 
smell, sight and feel. Some have called the stalk sylphium, 
the root magudarim, and the leaves maspeta. The juice is 


475 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


the most effective, then the leaves, and then the stalk. It is 
inflative and sharp, curing alopecid [baldness] by rubbing 
it with wine, pepper and vinegar. 

It causes quickness of sight, and smeared on with 
honey disperses the dripping of fluids [in the eyes] as 
they begin. For toothache it is put into cavities, or put into 
a linen cloth with frankincense it is wrapped around the 
tooth, or the mouth is washed with it (with hyssop [3-30] 
and figs boiled with posca [hot drinks]). It is good applied 
to the wounds of those bitten by dogs; and rubbed on or 
taken as a drink for injuries from all poisonous beasts and 
poisoned arrows. It is rubbed on diluted in oil for those 
touched by scorpions. It is poured into gangrene that is 
first incised or cut. For carbuncles [infected boils, 
malignant skin tumours] it is used with rue, saltpetre 
[potassium nitrate] and honey, or by itself. It takes away 
corns and fleshy hardnesses that are first cut in all 
around. It is first kneaded together with wax ointment (or 
the inside of dry figs and vinegar) to cure recent lichen 
[skin disease]. For carcomata [carcinomata — now cancer — 
old use: disease of the cornea] and polyps [growths from 
mucus membrane] it is rubbed on for several days with 
cobblers ink or aerugo [verdigris — brass oxide], but you 
must pull off protuberances with a pair of pliers. It helps 
long-lasting difficulties of the lungs. Diluted in water and 
sipped, it immediately clears a voice that is suddenly 
hoarse. 

Smeared on with honey it represses inflammation of 
the uvula. With honey and water it is an effective gargle 
for synanchic [abscessed] throats. Taken with meat it 
makes skin better coloured, and it is good for coughs 
given with a raw egg, and to be sipped for pleurisy. With 
dry figs it is effective for jaundice and dropsy. A 
decoction (taken as a drink) with pepper, frankincense 
and wine dissolves chills. Having made ten grains of it 
into a pill give it to swallow to those with tetanus, and to 
the opisthotonic [form of tetanus]. Gargled with vinegar 
it casts off horseleeches that stick to the throat. It is good 
for those whose milk curdles within [breastfeeding], and 
taken with vinegar and honey helps epilepsy. A 
decoction (taken as a drink with pepper and myrrh [1-77, 
1-73, 4-116]) induces the menstrual flow. Taken with 
raisins it helps the coeliac [intestinal complaints]. A 
decoction (taken as a drink with lye [alkaline salts in 
water]) helps sudden convulsions and hernia. It is 


476 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Rofmarinus* 

Kogroarm. 



Rosmarinus 
from FUCHS — 1545 


477 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


100 Botrys* 

(Tmi bcnhaut 



478 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


dissolved in pills with bitter almonds, rue [3-52, 3-53, 
4-98] or warm bread, and the juice of the leaves [is used] 
in the same way, but is considerably less effective. It is 
eaten with vinegar and honey and is good for the 
arteries, and (especially) for cut-off voices [laryngitis]. 
They eat it [as a salad] with lettuce instead of eruca. There 
is said to be another magudaris [gift of the wise man] that 
grows in Libya, the root of which is similar to si I phi um but 
somewhat less thick — sharp, with a loose substance and 
without juice. It does the same things as silphium. 

3-95. SAGAPENON 

SUGGESTED: Ferula persica — Ferula, Giant Fennel 

produces sagapenum gum resin 


S agapenum is the liquid of the ferulacean herb growing 
in Media. The best is transparent, a yellow colour 
outside but white inside, smelling in-between the juice of 
silphium [3-94] and galbanum, and sharp to the taste. It is 
good for pains, and is an abortifacient. Taken with wine it 
also heals those bitten by venomous creatures. Inhaled 
with vinegar it raises up those with a strangled 
[congested, blocked] womb. It cleans scars in the eyes, 
dullness of sight, things that darken the pupils, and 
dripping fluids. It is dissolved as a liquid with rue, water, 
bitter almonds and honey, or warm bread. 

3-96. EUPHORBION 


suggested: Euphorbia amygdaloides — Wood Spurge 
Euphorbia officinarum — Poisonous Gum Thistle 

see tithymal 4-165 a-f, also 4-170 


E uphorbium is a tree-like ferula in Libya that grows on 
Tmolus, a hill near Mauretania. It is full of very sharp 
liquid. The men there are afraid of it because of its 
extraordinary heat, and gather it as follows. Binding 
around the tree washed sheep stomachs and standing a 
distance away, they pierce the stalk with long tools; and 
presently a quantity of liquid flows out (like out of some 
jar) into the bellies. When pierced like this it also spills on 
the ground. There are two kinds of this liquid: one 


479 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


transparent like Sdrcocolld [3-99] (similar to ervum [2-129, 
2-131]), but the other that is gathered in the bellies has a 
glassy look and is compact. It is adulterated with sarcocolla 
and glue mixed together. Choose that which is 
transparent and sharp, but that which is tasted is very 
hard to test because the tongue having been once bitten 
the burning remains for a long time, so that whatever is 
brought seems to be euphorbium. The first discovery of it 
was when Juba was king of Libya. The juice rubbed on 
has the ability to dissolve liquids. A decoction (taken as a 
drink) burns for a whole day; as a result it is mixed with 
honey and collyriums [1642CE — eye salve; 1748CE — 
suppository] depending on the sharpness. It is mixed 
with aromatic liquid medicines and is good (taken as a 
drink) for sore hips. It removes scales from bones the 
same day, but it is necessary for those who use it to secure 
the flesh lying around the bones with linen cloths or stiff 
ointments. Some claim that no hurt will fall on those 
bitten by snakes if (having cut the skin of the head even to 
the bone) you pour in this resin (pounded into small 
pieces) and sew up the wound. 

3-97. CHALBANE 

suggested: Ferula galbaniflua — Galbanum Plant 

used in incense 


G albanum is the resin of the ferula growing in Syria. It 
is also called metopium [1-71]. The best is similar to 
frankincense, clotted, pure, fat, not woody, with 
something like seeds of feru la mixed, with a strong scent, 
neither too moist nor too dry. They adulterate it by 
mixing it with rosin, bruised beans and ammoniacum 
[3-98]. It is warming, burning, attractive and dispersing. 
Either applied or inhaled it expels the menstrual flow and 
is an abortifacient. Smeared on with vinegar and 
saltpetre [potassium nitrate] it takes away freckles. It is 
also swallowed down for old coughs, hard breathing, 
asthma, hernia, and convulsions. A decoction (taken as a 
drink) with vinegar and myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] resists 
poison. Taken like this it casts out a dead embryo. It is 
applied for pains in the side, and boils or inflammatory 
tumours. Inhaled, it raises up the epileptic, and helps 
womb congestion and those with vertigo. Inhaled, it 


480 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



M atricaria pyrethrum 
after THIEBAULT — 1888 


481 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


Peucedatius* 3+5 



482 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


drives away poisonous beasts, and keeps those rubbed 
with it unbitten. Applied all over [the body] with 
sphondylium [3-90] and oil it kill s snakes. Smeared on the 
tooth or put into a cavity it soothes toothaches, and it 
seems to be good for frequent painful urination. It is 
dissolved in pills with bitter almonds and water (or rue, 
or honey and water, or warm bread, or else with 
meconium [4-65], or burned brass, or liquid my nice gale). If 
you want to purify it put it into warm water. When 
melted the filth from it will swim on top and you can 
separate it as follows. Tie the gal ban um in a clean thin 
linen cloth, hang it in a brass pot or ceramic jar so that the 
bundle does not touch the bottom of the jar. Plug it closed 
and pour boiling water over it, for this way the best will 
be melted (as through a strainer) but the woody stuff will 
remain in the linen cloth. 

3-98. AMMONIAKON 


suggested: D orema ammoniacum, D orema aurium, 
Diserneston gummiferum, Peucedanum ammoniacum 
— Gum Ammoniacum Plant, Gum of Ammon, Dorema 

A mmoniacum is the herb from which ammoniacan 
incense is gathered. It is the liquid of a ferula that 
grows in Libya near Cyrene. The whole shrub (together 
with the root) is called agasyllis. The best has a good 
colour, is not woody, without stones, similar to 
frankincense in little clots, clear and thick, without filth, 
similar to castor [2-26] in smell, but bitter to the taste. It is 
called thrausma. The earthy or stony is called phurama. It 
grows in Libya near Ammon's temple and is the juice of a 
tree similar to ferula. It is softening, attracting and 
warming, and dissolves hardness and inflammation of 
bones. A decoction (taken as a drink) brings down the 
intestines and is an abortifacient. One teaspoonful of a 
decoction (taken as a drink with vinegar) lessens the 
spleen, and takes away pains of the joints and hips. 
Licked with honey (or sipped with juice of barley water) 
it also helps the asthmatic, orthopnoeic [those with 
difficulty breathing], epileptics, and those who have 
moisture in the chest. It expels bloody urine, cleans white 
spots on the cornea [eye], and removes the roughness of 
the gene [cheeks, chin, eye sockets]. Pounded into small 


483 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


pieces with vinegar and applied, it softens hard lumps 
around the spleen and liver. Applied with honey or 
mixed with pitch, it dissolves knobs around the joints 
[arthritis]. Rubbed on mixed with vinegar, saltpetre 
[potassium nitrate], and oil cyprinum [1-65], it is good for 
weariness and sciatica (instead of medications to remove 
fatigue). It is also called agasyllon, criotheos, or heliastrus, 
and the Romans call it gutta. 

3-99. SARKOKOLLA 

SUGGESTED: Sarcocolla [Bedevian] — Sarcocol 

S ar COCOll a is the fluid of a tree growing in Persia (similar 
to thin frankincense) dark yellow, and somewhat 
bitter to the taste. It is able to close open cuts and sore 
wounds, and to stop fluids in the eyes. It is mixed with 
plasters. It is counterfeited by gum being mixed with it. 

3-100. GLAUKION 

suggested: Chdidonium corniculatum, Glaucium corniculatum, 
Glaucium leiocarpum, Glaucium phoeniceum 
— Red Horned Poppy 

see 4-64 


G laucium is the juice of a herb that grows at Hierapolis 
in Syria. The leaves are similar to the horned poppy 
but fatter, scattered on the ground, with a strong scent, 
and more bitter to the taste. It has considerable quantities 
of saffron-coloured juice. The inhabitants throw the 
leaves into a pot, warm it in half-cold ovens until 
withered, and afterwards beat them to press out the juice. 
It is used for new eye sores because it is cooling. 

3-101. KOLLA 


SUGGESTED: Glue from the hides of Bulls 

T he best glutinum (also called xylocolla or taurocolla ) is 
that from Rhodes made from bull hides. It is white 
and transparent, but the black glue is bad. Dissolved in 
vinegar it is able to take away impetigo [skin infection] and 


484 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 



486 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


leprosy on the outside of the skin. Diluted with warm 
water and smeared on, it prevents burns from blistering. 
Diluted with honey and vinegar it is good for wounds. 

3-102. ICHTHUOKOLLA 

SUGGESTED: Fish Glue 

T hat called fish glue is from the intestines of a whale 
fish. The best is made in Pontus — white, somewhat 
rough, not scabby, very quickly melted. It is good to 
include in head plasters, medicines for leprosy, and 
medicines for making facial skin smooth. 

3-103. IXOS 


suggested: Viscum album [Linnaeus], Loranthus europaeus 
— Continental Mistletoe 

PARTS ARE POISONOUS 

T he best ixia is new, the colour of a leek on the inside, 
and pale yellow on the outside, with no part rough or 
branny. It is made of a certain round fruit (with leaves 
similar to box) that grows on the oak. This fruit is 
pounded, then washed, and afterwards boiled in water, 
but some process it by chewing it. It also grows on the 
apple tree, pear tree and other trees. It is able to disperse, 
soften, attract, and digest swellings and inflammation of 
the parotid gland and other suppurations, mixed equally 
with wax and rosin. It heals epinyctis [pustules which 
appear only at night] in an adhesive plaster. With 
frankincense it softens old ulcers and malignant 
suppurations. Boiled (with quicklime, agate stone, or 
asiatic [ Centella asiatica — asiaticoside]) and applied, it 
reduces the spleen. Smeared with arsenic or sacarach 
[saccharate — salt of saccharic acid] it also draws off nails. 
Mixed with unslaked lime and wine sediment, its 
strength is extended. 


487 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-104. APARINE 


suggested: A parine vulgdris [Bauhin], Galium aparine 
— Catch Grass, Cleavers, Goosegrass, Sticky Willy 

A parine has many little square rough branches. The 
leaves are at distances lying about in a circle (like 
those of rubia [dyers madder]). The flowers are white; the 
seed hard, white, round, somewhat hollow in the middle 
(like a navel). The herb sticks to cloths, and the shepherds 
use it instead of a strainer for milk, for taking out hairs 
with it. The seed, stalks and leaves are juiced (taken as a 
drink with wine) to help those bitten by harvest spiders 
and snakes. The juice dropped in ears cures earache. The 
herb (taken in pounded swines' grease) dissolves 
scrofulous tumours [glandular swelling] and goitres. It is 
also called ampelocarpum , omphelocarpum, philanthropum, 
and ixos. 


3-105. ALUSSON 

suggested: M arrubium alysson, M arrubium alyssum 
— Plaited-leaved Horehound, Moonwort 

Sprengel says this is A lyssum alpestre [Loudon]. 


A lysson is a somewhat rough little shrub with round 
leaves. The fruit is similar to little double shields, in 
which is the somewhat broad seed. It grows in hilly and 
rough places. A decoction of this (taken as a drink) 
dissolves afflictions in those without fever. When held or 
smelled it has a similar effect. Pounded into small pieces 
with honey it cleans freckles. Pounded together in meat 
and given, it is thought to cure madness in a dog. Hanged 
in a house it is said to be wholesome and an amulet for 
men and beasts. Hanged on them with a purple cloth, it 
drives away sores on cattle. It is also called aspidium, 
haplophyllon, accuseton, or adeseton. 


488 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



489 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 



490 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-106. ASKLEPIAS 

suggested: A sclepi as, H /run din aria, Vincetoxicum [Fuchs], 
Asclepias albo flore [Bauhin], A sclepi as vincetoxicum [Linnaeus], 
Vincetoxicum officinale [in Sprague] — Milkweed 

[other usage] A sclepi as syriaca — Milkweed, Silkweed 
Thapsia asdepium [Loudon] — Deadly Carrot 

POISONOUS 

A sclepias sends out many long little branches (similar 
to cissus ), and slender roots with a sweet scent. The 
flower smells strongly, and the seed is rather like that of 
securidaca (that which gives peace). It grows on hills. A 
decoction of the roots (taken as a drink in wine) helps 
those with griping and those bitten by poisonous beasts. 
The leaves are applied for malignant sores in the breasts 
and womb. It is also called cission, or cissophullon. 

3-107. ATRAKTULIS 

suggested: A tractylis mitior, Cartamus sylvestris, 

Wilder Feldsaffran [Fuchs], A tractylis vulgaris minor [Brunfels], 
Carlin a vulgaris [Linnaeus], A tractylis hirsutior, 

Carduus benedictus [Fuchs, Bauhin], Cnicus sylvestris hirsutior 
[Bauhin], Cnicus benedictus [Linnaeus], Carduus benedictus 
— Blessed Thistle 

[other usage] A tractylis gummifera, Carlina gummifera 
— White Chameleon, Spindle Wort 

A tractylis is a thorn similar to cnicus [ 4-119, 4-190] with 
much longer leaves on the top of the shoots, and 
most of it is naked and rough. Women use it instead of a 
spindle. It has prickly little heads on the top and a pale 
flower, but the root is thin and useless. The leaves, 
filaments, and fruit of this plant (pounded into small 
pieces and taken as a drink with pepper and wine) help 
those touched by scorpions. Some relate that those 
touched this way are without pain as long as they hold 
the herb, and taking it away are in pain again. It is also 
called amyron, cnicus sylvestris , or aspidium ; the Magi call it 
aphedros, the Egyptians, cheno , the Romans, presepium , 
some, fusus agrestis, and others, colus. 


491 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-108. POLUKNEMON 


suggested: Polycnemum arvense, Polycnemum recurvum 

P olycnemon is a shrub full of sprigs, with leaves similar 
to origanum, and a stalk with many joints like 
pulegium [3-36]. It does not have a tuft but little clusters on 
the top with a certain sharp, pleasant smell. It is effective 
(applied green, or dried, with water) for closing open cuts 
and sore wounds. You must loosen it after it has been 
applied for five days. It is taken in a drink with wine for 
slow painful urination and hernia. (Experience has 
taught how the little branches bruised in white wine are a 
great help for those possessed with the so-called water 
delirium.) It is also called clinopodium, polygonatum, colus 
iovis, or echeonymon, and the Romans call it puteo- 
logonthria. 


3-109. KLINOPODION 

suggested: Clinopodium vulgare, M elissa clinopodium, 
Calamintha clinopodium — Wild Basil, Horse Thyme, 
Field Wild Basil 

see 3-50, 4-176 


C linopodium is a little shrub full of shoots two feet high 
that grows on rocks, with leaves similar to serpyllum 
[3-46], and flowers like the feet of a bed, set around at 
distances, similar to marrubium [3-38]. The herb (and a 
decoction of it) is taken as a drink for the bites of 
venomous creatures, convulsions, hernia, and slow 
painful urination. A decoction (taken as a drink for many 
days) draws out the menstrual flow, is an abortifacient, 
and casts off hanging warts. It stops discharges of the 
bowels boiled down two thirds and taken as a drink (in 
wine for the non-feverish, but for the feverish with 
water). It is also called cleollicum, ocimoides, or zopyrum. 


492 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



R ubia tinctorum 
after FAGUET — 1881 


493 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 



494 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-110. LEONTOPETALON 

suggested: Leontice leontopetalum — Leontice, Lion's Leaf, 
Lion's Turnip 

L eontopetalum sends out a stalk twenty centimetres 
long (or rather more) with many wings on whose 
tops are pods similar to C/'cer [2-126]. In these are two or 
three little seeds. The flowers are a Phoenician colour 
[red] (similar to anemone), but the leaves are similar to 
colewort [kale], cut-in like those of poppy. The root is 
black like rapum [turnip] with abnormal growths (as it 
were), some knotty. It grows in fields and among wheat. 
A decoction of the root (taken as a drink with wine) helps 
those bitten by snakes, quickly relieving their pain. It is 
also mixed with enemas or suppositories for sciatica. It is 
also called leontopodium, leontium, doricteris, lychnis 
sylvestris, doris , pardale, thorybethron, rapeium , papaver 
corniculatum, or anemone; the Romans call it papaver cut um, 
and semen leoninum. 

3-111. TEUKRION 

SUGGESTED: Teucrium [Fuchs, Bauhin], 

Teucrium flavurn [Linnaeus] — Germander 

[other usage] Teucrium creticum, Teucrium hyssopifolium 
— Cretan Germander 
T eucrium scordioides, T eucrium scorodinia 
— Wood Germander, Wood Sage, Garlic Sage 

T eucrium is a herb like a rod (resembling germander), 
with a thin leaf similar to that of cicer [2-126]. It grows 
abundantly in Cilicia (in that part near Gentias), and 
Kissas. A decoction (taken green, as a drink with posca 
[hot drinks]; or dried, boiled, and taken excessively as a 
drink) is able to diminish the spleen. With figs and 
vinegar it is applied to the splenical. For those bitten by 
poisonous beasts it is applied with vinegar alone 
(without figs). Some call this chamedrys, others, teucris. 


495 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-112. CHAMAIDRUS 

suggested: Chamaedrys vera mas [Fuchs], 
Chamaedrys minor repen sjeucrium chamaedrys [Linnaeus] 

— Common Germander, Ground Oak, Wall Germander 

Chamaedrys vera foemina [Fuchs], BotrysChamaedryoides 
[Bauhin], T eucrium botrys — Cut-leaved Germander see 3-130 

Chamaedrys vulgaris mas, Veronica teucrium, 

Veronica chamaedrys [Linnaeus], Chamaedrys vulgaris foemina 
[Fuchs] — Wild Germander, Germander Speedwell 

C hamaedrys grows in rough rocky places. It is a small 
shrub twenty centimetres long, with bitter little 
leaves similar in shape and in the jagging to an oak. The 
little flower is pale purple. It must be gathered when full 
of seed. Freshly picked (boiled with water and given as a 
drink) it is able to help convulsions and coughs, as well as 
spleens with hardened swellings, frequent painful 
urination, and dropsy at first presentation. It expels the 
menstrual flow and is an abortifacient. A decoction 
(taken as a drink with vinegar) reduces the spleen. A 
decoction is good against venomous creatures, taken as a 
drink with wine and smeared on. Pounded into small 
pieces, it may also be formed into pills for the purposes 
previously mentioned. It is pounded into small pieces 
with honey to clean old ulcers. Rubbed on with oil it takes 
away dimness in the eyes. Rubbed on, it is warming. The 
Romans call it trissago minor, some chamedrops, or Unodrys, 
but because it has a certain similarity to teucrium, some 
also have called it teucrium. 

3-113. LEUKAS 

suggested: Leucas foliis rotundus, Phlomis biflora [Roxburgh]; 
Leucas indica — Leucas 

L eucas of the hill [wild] is broader-leaved than the 
cultivated. The seed is sharper, more bitter, and 
worse-tasting in the mouth, yet it is more effective than 
the cultivated. Both of them (smeared on and taken as a 
drink) are good with wine against the venom of 
poisonous creatures, especially those of the sea. 


496 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



497 



ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 



498 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-114. LUCHNIS STEPHANOMATIKE 


SUGGESTED: Lychnis — Campion, Lamp Flower, 
Maltese Cross 

Lychnis codi-rosa, A grostemma codi-rosa — Rose of Heaven 
Lychnis coronaria, A grostemma coronaria — Rose Campion, 
Mullein Pink 


L ychnis has a flower similar to a white violet but almost 
purple, interwoven into little crowns, the seed of 
which (taken in a drink with wine) helps those bitten by 
scorpions. It is also called athanates, aquilonium, vallarium, 
geranopodium, corymbion, taurion, sceptrum, or maloion; the 
Egyptians call it seneom, the Magi call it the blood of a 
menstrual woman, and the Romans call it genicular is, or 
vail aria. 


3-115. LUCHNIS AGRIA 

suggested: Lychnis viscaria — Viscid Campion 

L ychnis sy I vestr is is similar to the culivated in all things. 

Two teaspoons of a decoction of the seed (taken as a 
drink) expels bilious matter through the intestines and 
helps those touched by scorpions. They say that when 
this herb is laid near scorpions they become numb and 
unable to hurt. It is also called tragonoton, atocion, 
hieracopodion, or I am pas, the Egyptians call it semura, the 
Magi call it genitals of a menstrual woman, the Romans, 
intybus agrestis, some, lapathum, or caphaguina, and others, 
seris. 


3-116. KRINON BASILIKON 


suggested: Lilium, L ilium album [Fuchs], 
Lilium candidum [Linnaeus] — Madonna Lily 
[other usage] Crinum toxicarium, Crinum asiaticum 
— White Lily, Lily Asphodel, Poison Bulb 



POISONOUS 


T he flowers of crinum are used to make wreaths for the 
head (called lirium by some), and also to make 
ointment called lirinum or susinum [1-62] that soothes the 
sinews, and is effective for hard lumps around the womb. 


499 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


The leaves are applied to help those bitten by snakes. 
Boiled, they are good for burns, and preserved in vinegar 
they are good for wounds. The juice from the leaves 
(mixed with vinegar or honey and boiled in a brass jar) is 
a liquid medicine for old ulcers and new wounds. The 
root (roasted and pounded into small pieces with 
rosaceum [1-53]) cures and soothes the womb, expels the 
menstrual flow, and heals ulcers, making a new skin. 
Pounded into small pieces with honey it cures distresses 
of the nerves, cleans leprosy and alphos [noncontagious 
leprosy], takes off dandruff, clears the face, and removes 
wrinkles. Pounded into small pieces with vinegar (or 
with the leaves of hyoscyamus [4-69] and wheat flour) it 
soothes inflammation from stones [urinary, kidney]. A 
decoction of the seed (taken as a drink) is an antidote for 
snakebite. Both the seed and the leaves (pounded into 
small pieces) are a poultice with wine for erysipela 
[streptococcal skin infection]. Some say that there are lily 
flowers of a purple colour. Those most effective for the 
manufacture of ointment grow in Syria, and in Pisidia 
near Pamphylia. It is also called crinanthemom, or 
callirium, the Magi call it sanguis martis, Osthenes calls it 
aura crocodili, the Egyptians, symphaephu, some, tialos, the 
Romans, lilium, some, rosa I u non is, the Syrians, sasa, and 
the Africans, abiblabon. 

3-117. BALLOTE 


suggested: Ballote, M arrubium nigrum [Fuchs], 

M arrubium nigrum foetidum [Bauhin], Bat lota nigra [Linnaeus], 
Balotta f Odd da — Black Stinking Horehound, 

Foetid Horehound 

B all ota (or marrubium nigrum ) sends out many black 
stalks that are four-cornered and somewhat rough 
from one root. The leaves are similar to marrubium [3-38, 
3-42] yet bigger, rounder, black and rough, spaced at 
distances along the stalk (like apiastrum), with a strong 
scent (which is why they have called it apiastrum ); and the 
flowers lie around the white stalks in a circle. The leaves 
(applied with salt) are good for those bitten by dogs. 
Warmed in warm ashes until withered, they repress skin 
lesions, and with honey they clean foul ulcers. It is also 
called nophtham, notianoscemin, cynosprasion, notheras, 


500 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



501 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 



Cannabis sativa 
after FAGUET — 1880 


502 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


nochelis, nostelis, nophrys, gnothuris, or gnotera. The 
Romans call it apnium, some, metita, others, ulceraria, 
marrubium, or cantherinum , the Egyptians, asphos, some, 
esce, and the Magi call it the blood of Isis. 

3-118. MELISSOPHULLON 


suggested: M elissophyllum verum, M dissen [Fuchs], 
Lamium montanum melissae folio [Bauhin], 

M dittis mdissophyllum [Linnaeus] — Bastard Balm, 

Balm Melittis, Honey Balm 

M elissophyllum adulterinum [Fuchs], M elissophyllum vulgare 
[Brunfels], M elissa hortensis [Bauhin], M elissa officinalis 
[Linnaeus], Apiastrum, Citrago — Lemon Balm, Bee Balm, 

Balm Leaf 

M dissophyllum some call mdittena because bees 
delight in the herb. The leaves and little stalk are 
similar to ball Ota [3-117], but these are bigger, thinner, not 
so rough, and smell of lemon. A decoction of the leaves 
(taken as a drink with wine, and also applied) is good for 
those touched by scorpions, or bitten by harvest spiders 
or dogs. A decoction of them is a warm pack for the same 
purposes. It is suitable for women's hip baths for moving 
the menstrual flow, as a mouth rinse for toothache, and 
as an enema or suppository for dysentery. A decoction of 
the leaves (taken as a drink with saltpetre [potassium 
nitrate]) helps those who are ill from mushrooms or 
griping. Taken as a linctus [syrup] it helps difficult 
breathing, and applied with salt it dissolves scrofulous 
tumours [goitres] and cleans ulcers. Smeared on, it 
lessens the pains of gout. It is also called mditteon, 
mdiphyllon, erythra, or temde, the Romans call it apiastrum, 
some, citrago, and the Gauls, merisimorion. 


503 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-119. PRASION 


SUGGESTED: M arrubium [Fuchs, Brunfels], 

M arrubium album vulgare [Bauhin], M entastro [Italian], 
M arrubium vulgare [Linnaeus] 

— Common White Horehound 

[other usage] Prasium majus — Great Hedge Nettle 
Prasium minus — Small Sicilian Prasium 

see 3-42 


P rasium is a shrub with many branches from one root, 
somewhat rough, white and four-cornered in the 
stems. The leaf is equal to a big finger, somewhat round, 
thick, wrinkled, bitter to the taste. The seed lies on the 
stalks at distances and the flowers are sharp like the 
vertebrae of backbones. It grows in places near houses 
and rubbish of buildings. 

The dried leaves (with the seed) boiled with water (or 
juiced while green) are given with honey for tuberculosis 
of the lungs, asthma, and coughs. If dry iris is mixed with 
it, it brings up thick stuff out of the chest. It is given to 
women not yet cleansed for driving out the menstrual 
flow and the afterbirth, to women in hard labour, to those 
bitten by venomous creatures, and to those who have 
taken some deadly thing as a drink. Yet it is offensive to 
the bladder and veins. The leaves (smeared on with 
honey) clean foul ulcers, drive away pterygium 
[membrane on eye] and gangrenous ulceration of the 
cheeks, and lessen pains of the sides. The juice made 
from the pressed leaves (thickened in the sun) provides 
for the same purposes. Rubbed on with wine and honey 
it is a sight restorer, and it purges away jaundice through 
the nostrils. Dropped in by itself or with rosaceum [1-53] it 
is good for earaches. It is also called eupatorium, 
phyllophares, tripedilon, camel's foot, or philophares; the 
Egyptians call it asterope, the Magi, sanguis tauri, some, 
aphedros, genitura hori, the Romans, marrubium, some, 
labeonia , and the Africans, atierberzia. 


504 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



505 



ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


Althaea. 7 



506 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-120. STACHUS 


suggested: Stachys [Fuchs], Stachys major germanica [Bauhin], 
Stachys germanica [Linnaeus] — Hedge Nettle, Woundwort, 

Betony 

S tachys is a shrub similar to marrubium [3-38] yet 
somewhat longer; with many thin leaves, somewhat 
rough, hard, with sweet scent, white; with many small 
shoots out of the same root, but paler than those of 
marrubium. It grows in rough hilly places, and it is 
warming and sharp. As a result a decoction of the leaves 
(taken as a drink) expels the menstrual flow and 
afterbirth. 


3-121. PHULLITIS 


suggested: Asplenium scolopendrium, Scolopendrium vulgare, 

S col open dri u m offi ci n aru m, P hyl I i ti s scol open dri u m, 

A di an turn scolopendrium — Hart's Tongue Fern, 

Horse Tongue 

P hyl litis sends out six or seven upright leaves similar to 
rumex [2-141] yet somewhat longer and more 
flourishing, smooth on the front parts, but on the back 
parts having (as it were) thin little worms hanging. It 
grows in shady places and pleasure gardens. It is bitter to 
the taste and has no stalk, seed, or flower. A decoction of 
the leaves (taken as a drink with wine) is good for those 
bitten by snakes. It is helpful for four-footed beasts 
[veterinary] poured in through the mouth. It is taken as a 
drink for dysentery and diarrhoea. It is also called phyllis, 
acaulon, or lapathum sylvestre. 

3-122. PHALAGGION 


suggested: A nthericum liliago 
— Unbranched Lily Spiderwort 
A nthericum ramosum, Phalangium ramosam 
— Branched Lily Spiderwort 

Phalangium species are now A nthericum. 


P halangium some call phalangite while others call it 
leucacantha. There are two or three (or more) stems 


507 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


distant from one another. The flowers are white like lilies 
with many in-cuts. The seed is thick and black similar to 
half of a lens [lentil] but much more slender. The small 
little root is thin and green while being pulled out of the 
earth; afterwards it contracts. It grows in hilly places. A 
decoction of the leaves, seeds, and flowers (taken as a 
drink with wine) helps those touched by scorpions or 
bitten by harvest spiders. It also dissolves griping. 

3-123. TRIPHULLON 


suggested: Trifolium odoratum, Lotus sativa [Fuchs], 

Lotus hortensis odora [Bauhin ],Trifolium melilotus-coerulea 
[Linnaeus], Trigonella coerulea [in Sprague] — Trefoil 

[other usage] Trigonella corniculata, Trigonella eliator 
— Wild Trefoil 

T ri folium is a shrub higher than a foot, with slender 
black stems like onion stalks with branches attached. 
These have are three leaves on every sprig (like the lotus 
tree). The smell of them when they emerge is like rue 
[3-52, 3-53, 4-98], but when grown it is like bitumen. It 
sends out a purple flower; the seed is somewhat broad 
and rough with at the one end (as it were), a horn. The 
root is thin, long and strong. The seeds and leaves (taken 
as a drink in water) help pleurisy, frequent painful 
urination, epilepsy, those beginning to have dropsy, and 
womb congestion. It expels the menstrual flow, but three 
teaspoonfuls of the seed or four teaspoonfuls of the 
leaves must be given. A decoction of the leaves (pounded 
into small pieces and taken as a drink with vinegar and 
honey) helps those bitten by venomous creatures. Some 
say that a decoction of the entire shrub with roots and 
leaves applied with hot cloths to those bitten by snakes 
soothes the pains, but if someone with an ulcer is applied 
with hot cloths from the water in which another was 
healed he feels the same pains as those bitten did. Some 
give three leaves in drink for fevers with recurrent 
paroxysms, or three seeds with wine for dissolving the 
circular flows of acute fevers. The root is also mixed with 
antidotes. It is also called oxyphyl I on, menyanthes, 
asphaltium, orcnicinum, the Romans call it trifolium, and 
some, tri folium acutum odoratum. 


508 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Oenanthe,fiue Filip endula, 32} 
&ot gtcmbu'rf). 



509 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


Alcea. 45 

©rcjmarstraut* 



510 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-124. POLION 


SUGGESTED: T eucrium polium — Cat Thyme, Hulwort, 
Mountain Germander 

P ol ion the mountainous is also called teuthris, and it is 
useful. It is a thin little white shrub twenty 
centimetres long, full of seed; with a small head on the 
top similar to a little corymbus [flat or slightly convex 
inflorescence], like gray hair, strongly scented with a 
pleasant smell. Some is shrubbier, not altogether as 
strong to smell, and not as effective in working. A 
decoction (taken as a drink with vinegar) is able to help 
those bitten by venomous creatures, or with dropsy, or 
jaundice, and the splenetic; but it causes headaches and 
is bad for the stomach. It also induces movement of the 
intestines and the menstrual flow. Scattered underneath 
(or inhaled) it drives away venomous creatures. Applied, 
it heals wounds. It is also called teuthrion, pheuxaspidion, 
achaemenis, ebenitis, melosmon, belion, or leontocharon. 

3-125. SKORDION 


suggested: Scordium [Fuchs], Teucrium scordium [Linnaeus] 
— Garlic Germander, Water Germander 

S cordium grows in marshy, mountainous places. It has 
leaves similar to chamedrys but bigger and not as 
cut-in around the circumference. It resembles garlic in its 
smell somewhat, and is astringent and bitter to the taste. 
Pale red flowers grow from the little four-cornered stalks. 
The pounded herb (green or dry) is warming and diuretic 
given in drink. Boiled with wine it is good for snakebite 
and poisons. For pangs of hunger in the stomach, 
dysentery, and frequent painful urination give two 
teaspoonfuls with honey water. It expels purulent 
thicknesses out of the chest. It helps old coughs, hernias, 
and convulsions mixed dry in a linctus [syrup] with 
nasturtium [2-185], honey and rosin. Used in a stiff 
ointment it relaxes hypochondrium [nervous gastric 
disorder] with long-lasting inflammation. Smeared on 
with sharp vinegar (or applied with water) it is good for 
gout. Applied, it induces the menstrual flow, and heals 
wounds. With honey it cleans old ulcers and brings them 


511 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


to a scar. Used dry, it restrains abnormal growths of the 
flesh. The juice is taken as a drink for the same sores. The 
most effective is the Pontic and Cretan. It is also called 
scorbium, pleuritis, dysosmon, calamintha sylvestris, 
chamedrys, or mithridanios; the Magi call it sanguis podotis, 
the Egyptians, apho , and the Romans, trisago palustris. 

3-126. BECHION 


suggested: Tussilago, Farfaria, U ngula caballina 
[Fuchs, Brunfels], Tussilago vulgaris [Bauhin], 

T ussilago far far a [Linnaeus] — Coltsfoot 

[other usage] Becium bicolor, Ocymum grandiflorum, 
Ocymum abyssinicum, Ocymum filamentosum — Becium 

Loudon remarks that Bekion is a name for sage in Dioscorides; see 3-145, Orminon. 

B echium has six or seven leaves (similar to QSSUS but 
bigger) growing from the root — white on the lower 
side but green on the upper side — with many corners. 
The stalk is twenty centimetres long. It has a pale yellow 
flower in the springtime but it quickly throws off both the 
flower and the stalk; as a result some have thought the 
herb to be without stalk or flower. The root is thin and of 
no use. It grows near flowing or gushing watery places. 
The leaves (pounded into small pieces and applied) cure 
erysipela [streptococcal skin infection] and all 
inflammations. It is dried and burned, and the smoke 
from it is inhaled through a funnel to cure those troubled 
with a dry cough or difficult breathing: opening the 
mouth wide they take the smoke in at the mouth and 
swallow it down. It breaks up abscesses in the chest, and 
the burning root (inhaled) does the same. Boiled in honey 
water and taken as a drink it expels dead embryos. It is 
also called richion, petrina, peganon , pithion, pagonaton, 
chamdeuce, procheton, arcophyton, or chamegiron. The 
Egyptians call it saartha, the Romans, tussilago, some, 
pharpharia, others, pustulago, and the Bessians call it asa. 


512 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-127. ARTEMISIA MONOKLONOS 
ARTEMISIA MONOKLONOS ETERA 


suggested : Artemisia latifolia [Fuchs], 

A rtemisia vulgaris major [Bauhin], A rtemisia vulgaris 
[Linnaeus] — Mugwort 

Artemisia tenui folia, M atricaria [Fuchs], M atricaria vulgaris 
[Bauhin], M atricaria parthenium [Linnaeus], 
Pyrethrum parthenium, Parthenium matricaria, 
Chrysanthemum parthenium [in Sprague] 

— Feverfew Chrysanthemum 

Artemisia monoclonos, Tanacetum, Tagetes [Fuchs], 
Artemisia tenui folia [Brunfels], 

Chrysanthemum vuigare, Tanacetum vulgare [Linnaeus] 

— Common Tansy, Buttons 

S ome artemisia is polyclonos, some monoclonos. It grows 
for the most part in places near the sea. It is a 
shrub-like herb similar to wormwood [3-26] but bigger, 
and with the leaves coarser. There is one sort that is 
prosperous with broader leaves and stems, another 
smaller, the flowers little, thin and white, with a strong 
smell; it flowers in the summer. Some (in the 
Mediterranean parts) call a slender-branched little herb 
with a single stalk, extremely small, abundant with 
flowers of a tawny yellow colour, Artemisia monoclonos. 
The scent of this is sweeter than of the other. They both 
warm and relieve. Boiled, they are good put into 
womens' baths for driving out the menstrual flow and 
afterbirth, as an abortifacient, for the closure and 
inflammation of the womb, the breaking of stones 
[urinary, kidney], and stoppage of urine. Much of the 
herb applied to the lower part of the bowels induces the 
menstrual flow, and the juice (kneaded together with 
myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116] and applied) draws from the 
womb as many things as does bathing; three 
teaspoonfuls of the filaments is given in drink to bring 
out the same things. If anyone has the herb artemisia with 
him while travelling it dissolves weariness, and if you 
wear it on your feet it drives away venomous beasts and 
devils. After blood has hardened around the joints, take 
the bigger branches with rosaceum [1-53] and (having 
boiled them in a pot) rub the sick man all over with this as 


513 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


he goes to sleep. It helps womens' womb congestion 
considerably, and soothes slow painful urination and 
rupture of the opisthotonum [form of tetanus]. It is also 
called toxetesia, ephesia , anactorios, sozusa, lea, or lycophrys ; 
the Magi call it sanguis hominis, it is also called 
chrysan themon, the Romans call it salentia, some, serpyllum, 
others, herba regia , rapium , tertanageta, or artenisia , the 
Gauls call it ponem, and the Dacians, zuoste. 

3-128. ARTEMISIA LEPTOPHULLOS 

suggested: A rtemisia herba alba — Artemisia 

A rtemisia grows around rivulets and hedges and in 
sown fields. The flowers and bruised leaves of this 
give off the smell of sampsuchum [3-47], Therefore if 
anyone is suffering in his stomach he should pound this 
herb well with oil of almonds, and make (as it were) a 
warm compress and lay it on the stomach, and he shall be 
healed. If anyone is pained in his strength, having mixed 
the juice of this with oil of roses let him rub with it, and he 
shall be whole. 


3-129. AMBROSIA 

suggested: A mbrosia maritima — Sea Ambrosia, 

Oak of Cappodocia, Oak of Jerusalem 

A mbrosia artemisi folia — Common Ragweed 

A mbrosia is a little shrub three feet in height, full of 
branches, with small leaves like rue around the 
emergent stalk. It has small stems full of little seeds like 
little bunches of grapes, which never flower — smelling 
pleasant like wine. The root is slender, two feet long. In 
Cappadocia it is plaited into wreaths for the head. It is 
able to repress and repel, and is smeared on as an 
astringent for fluids that have come down. It is also called 
botrys, or botrys artemisi a, the Romans call it caper 
sylvaticus, or apium rusticum, and the Egyptians, merseo. 


514 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-130. BOTRUS 


suggested: Botrys [Fuchs], Botrys ambrosioides vulgaris 
[Bauhin], Chenopodium botrys [Linnaeus] — Purple Goosefoot 

Chamaedrys vera foemina [Fuchs], Botrys Chamaedryoides 
[Bauhin], T eucrium botrys — Cut-leaved Germander 

see 3-112 


B otrus is a yellowish herb like a shrub, broad-spread, 
having many wings, and the seed grows around all 
the branches. The many leaves are similar to chicory, and 
all of it has a wonderful sweet scent, and so it is also laid 
among cloths. It grows especially near running waters 
and brooks. A decoction (with wine) is used as a drink to 
ease difficult breathing. The Cappadocians call this 
ambrosia, and it is also called artemisa. 

3-131. GERANION, GERANION 
ETERON 


suggested: Geranium tertium, H erba Roberti, Robertiana 
[Fuchs], Geranium roberti anum [Linnaeus] — Herb Robert, 
Adder's Tongue, Fox Geranium 

Geranium sextum [Fuchs], G eranium sanguinem [Linnaeus], 
Geranium praetense, Geranium fuscum — Crane's Bill 

G eranium has a jagged leaf similar to anemone but 
longer; a root somewhat round, sweet when eaten. 
A teaspoonful of a decoction (taken as a drink in wine) 
dissolves swellings of the vulva. It has slender little 
downy stalks two feet long; leaves like mallow; and on 
the tops of the wings certain abnormal growths looking 
upward (like the heads of cranes with the beaks, or the 
teeth of dogs), but there is no use for it in medicine. It is 
also called pelonitis, trica, or geranogeron, the Romans call it 
echin aster, the Africans iesce ; it is also called alter urn 
geranium by some, but others call it oxyphyllon, mertryx, 
myrrhis cardamomum, or origanum. The Magi call it 
hierobryncas, the Romans, pulmonia , some, cicotria, some, 
herba gruina, and the Africans, ienk. 


515 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-132. GNAPHALION 

suggested: Gnaphalium [Fuchs], 

Gnaphalium vulgaremajus [Bauhin], Gnaphalium germanicum, 
Filago germanica [Linnaeus] — Cudweed 
[other usage] Gnaphalium citrinum, Gnaphalium stoechas, 

H e/ichrysum stoechas — Cassidony, Gold Flower, 
Golden Tufts 

S ome use gnaphalium leaves instead of flocks [scraps of 
wool] because they are white and soft. The leaves 
(given to drink with hard wine) are good for dysentery. It 
is also called hires, mertryx, anaxeton or anaphalis, the 
Egyptians call it semeon, the Gauls, gdasonen, the Romans, 
centunculus, some tucularis, and some, albinus. 

3-133. TUPHE 

suggested: Typha [Fuchs], Typha palustris major [Bauhin], 
Typha latifoiia [Linnaeus], Typha major — Bulrush, 
Larger Reedmace, Geat Reed Mace, Cat's Tail, Marsh Pestle 

Typha angusti folia [Linnaeus] — Lesser Reedmace 
Typha angustata — Reed Mace, Small Bulrush 

T yphe sends out a leaf similar to Cyprus [1-124], and a 
stalk smooth and equal, surrounded around on the 
top with thick flowers which turn into down. It is also 
called panicula. The flowers (used in old washed swines' 
grease) cure burns. It grows in marshes and places with 
standing water. 


3-134. KIRKAIA 

suggested: Circaea lutetiana 
— Common Enchanter's Nightshade 

Circaea alpina — Alpine Enchanter's Nightshade 

C ircea (also called diraea ) has leaves similar to garden 
sol an urn nigrum [4-74], many shoots, many small 
black flowers, and seed similar to milium [3-158] in certain 
(as it were) little horns. The three or four roots are twenty 
centimetres long, white, sweet smelling, warming. It 
grows chiefly in some rocky, windy and open sunny 


516 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


places. As much as three pounds of the root (bruised and 
steeped a day and a night in three pints of sweet wine 
and taken as a drink for three days) cleans the womb. The 
seed (taken in liquids and sipped) draws down milk. 

3-135. OINANTHE 


suggested: Oenanthe, Filipendula [Fuchs], 

Filipendula vulgaris [Bauhin], Spiraea filipendula [Linnaeus], 
Filipendula hexapefala [in Sprague] — Dropwort [Mabberley] 

[other usage] Oenanthephellandrium, Phellandrium aquaticum 
— Water Hemlock, Horsebane, Fine-leaved Water Dropwort 

POISONOUS 

O enanthe has leaves like staphulinus, with white 
flowers and a thick stalk twenty centimetres long. 
The seed is like at ri pi ex [1-120, 2-145], and it has a great 
root with many round heads. It grows on rocks. The seed, 
stalks and leaves are given to drink (with honeyed wine) 
to discharge the afterbirth. The root is good (with wine) 
for slow painful urination and jaundice. It is also called 
leucanthon, or kerascomion. 

3-136. KONUZA 


suggested: Conyza odorata, Pluchea odorata — Ovrabla 
C onyza squarrosa — Great Fleabane 
Conyza canadensis, Erigeron canadensis — Fleabane, Erigeron 

C onyza magna. The conyza called little has a better 
smell, but the bigger sort has a higher stalk, broader 
leaves and a strong scent; both have leaves similar to the 
olive but these are rough and thick. The height of the 
stalk of the bigger sort is two feet, but the lesser is a foot. 
The flower is foul, a tawny yellow, somewhat bitter, 
falling into down. The roots are useless. The shrub is 
scattered underneath with the leaves, and the smoke of 
these is inhaled to drive away poisonous beasts, keep off 
gnats, and kill fleas. The leaves are usefully laid on those 
bitten by snakes, and on swellings and wounds; and the 
flowers and leaves are taken in a drink with wine for 
expulsion of the menstrual flow, as an abortifacient, and 
for slow painful urination, griping and jaundice. A 


517 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


decoction (taken as a drink with vinegar) helps epilepsy, 
and a decoction as a hip bath cures disorders in the womb 
and cleans away the menstrual flow. The juice (applied) 
causes abortions. The herb rubbed on with oil is good for 
chills. Thinly applied, it cures headaches. It is also called 
cynozematitis, danais, tanachium, phycos, ischys, or dinosmos, 
the Magi call it brephoctonos, some, anubias, or hedemias, 
the Egyptians, ceti, the Romans, intubus, some, militaris 
mina, delliarion, febrifuga, phragmosa, alusteri, or pissan. 

C onyza parva. There is also a third kind of conyza but 
the stalk is thicker and softer and the leaves bigger than 
the smaller sort. It is weaker than the bigger, not fat but 
with a much stronger smell, more unpleasant and less 
effective; it grows in watery places. It is also called pan i OS 
or I i ban otis; the Magi call it cronos. 

3-137. EMEROKALLIS 

suggested: H emerocallis fulva — Lemon Lily, 

Y ellow Day Lily 

H emerocallis has leaves and a stalk similar to a lily, 
green like leeks, the flowers in threes or fours at 
every flowering, similar in their shape to a lily when they 
begin to open, with a colour very similar to ochre. The 
root is pounded finely like the great bulbus [2-200, 2-201] 
and taken as a drink or applied with honey in wool as a 
pessary for drawing out water and blood. The leaves 
(pounded into small pieces and applied) lessen 
inflammation of the breasts that comes with childbirth, 
and inflammation of the eyes. The root and leaves are 
effective applied on burns. It is also called 
hemerocatallacton, lilium sylvestre, crinanthemon , 
porphyranthes, bulbus sanguineus, or anticantharon; the 
Egyptians call it iocroi, the Romans, bulbus, some, lilium 
agreste, some, lilium marinum , and the Africans, abiblabon. 


518 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-138. LEUKOION, LEUKOION 
THALASSION 

suggested: Leucoion, Viola alba , Leucoion-Dioscorides album 
[Fuchs], H esperls hortensis [Bauhin], 

H esperis matronalis var hortensis subvar albi flora [Linnaeus] 

— Dame's Violet, Dame's Rocket, Damask Violet 

Viola-lutea [Fuchs], Leucoion-D ioscorides luteum [Brunfels], 
Leucoium luteum vulgare [Bauhin], Cheiranthus cheiri 
[Linnaeus] — Wallflower 

[other usage] Leucoion [Theophrastus], Viola alba [Fuchs], 
Leucoium bulbosum vulgare [Bauhin], Leucojum vernum 
[Linnaeus] — Spring Snowflake 

L eukoiotl is commonly known but there are different 
coloured flowers, for it is found white, yellowish and 
azure [blue], or else it is purple. The fittest of these for 
medicinal use is the yellowish, the dried flowers of which 
(boiled) are good for bathing inflammation around the 
womb and expelling the menstrual flow. Used in wax 
ointments they cure cracks in the perineum, and with 
honey they cure apthas [small ulcers]. Two teaspoonfuls 
of a decoction of the seed (taken as a drink with wine or 
applied as a pessary with honey) draw out the menstrual 
flow and afterbirth, and are an abortifacient. The roots 
(smeared on with vinegar) repress the spleen and help 
gout. It is also called basil ion; the Romans call it opula alba, 
some call it viola alba, augustia, viola matronalis, passarina, 
or polyphura. 

3-139. KRATAIOGONON 

suggested: Crataegus monogyna — Common Hawthorn 
Crataegus orientalis — Eastern Thom 
Crataegus laevigata, Crataegus oxyacantha 
— Midland Hawthorn 

C rataeogonon (also called crateonon ) has leaves similar 
to mdampyrum, many knotty shoots growing out of 
one root, and a seed similar to millet. It grows for the most 
part in shady and shrubby places, and it is extremely 
sharp. It is said by some that drinking the seed causes a 
woman to bring forth a male child, if after the cleansing of 


519 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


the menstrual flow and before the time of sexual 
intercourse, she drinks three times a day (while fasting) 
thirty grains with two cups of water for forty days, and 
lets the man drink it similarly for as many days and then 
lie with her. 


3-140. PHULLON 


suggested: Bryophyllum calycinum, Bryophyllum pinnatum 
— Air Plant, Floppers, Life Plant 

see 4-192 


P hyllum grows on rocks. That which is called 
thdygonon has (as it were) moss, the leaf greener than 
the olive, a thin short stalk, a slender root, a white flower, 
and a bigger seed, rather like poppy. Arrhenogonon is 
similar in other things to that previously mentioned but 
differs in having the seed (similar to olives) coming in a 
cluster out of the flower. It is said that a decoction of 
arrhenogonon (taken as a drink) produces male offspring, 
but thelygonum causes females. Crateus relates this 
concerning these, but he seems to me to relate these 
things according to the report of them [not experience]. 
Some call this elaeophyllon , some, bryonia. 

3-141. ORCHIS 

suggested: Orchis mas latifolia [Fuchs, Brunfels], 
Cynosorchis latifolia [Bauhin], Orchis militaris [Linnaeus] 

— Military Orchid, Soldier Orchid 

[other usage] Orchis undulata — Wavy-leaved Orchis 
0 rchis longibracteta — Sicilian Orchis 
H erminum monorchis, Ophrys monorchis — Musk Orchis 

O rchis (also called cynosorchis ) has leaves scattered on 
the earth around the stalk, and the bottom of it is 
similar to an olive — tender but narrower, smooth and 
longer; a stalk the height of twenty centimetres on which 
are flowers of a purple hue. The root is bulbous, 
somewhat long, narrow like the olive, double, one part 
above, the other beneath, one full but the other soft and 
full of wrinkles. The root is eaten (boiled) like bulbus 
[2-200, 2-201]. It is said that if the bigger root is eaten by 


520 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


men, it makes their offspring males, and the lesser eaten 
by women makes them conceive females. It is further 
related that women in Thessalia give it to drink with 
goat's milk. The tenderer root is given to encourage 
venereal diseases, and the dry root to suppress and 
dissolve venereal diseases. In a decoction (taken as a 
drink) the one dissolves the other. It grows in stony, 
sandy places. 

3-142. ORCHIS ETEROS 


suggested: T riochis-serapias mas [Fuchs], Triorchis mas minor 
[Brunfels], Orchis morio [Linnaeus] — Green Winged Orchid 
Tri orchis foemina [Fuchs], Orchis fucum [Bauhin], 

Ophrys insectifera [Linnaeus], Ophrys apifera [in Sprague] 

— Bee Orchid 

[other usage] Serapias lingua, Serapias cordigera — Serapias 

T esti cuius alter (also called serapias — as Acreas does for 
the many uses of the root) has leaves similar to leek, 
somewhat long but broader and fat, winding around in 
the wings; little stalks twenty centimetres long, the 
flowers almost purple. The root (similar to testicles) lies 
under, and applied is able to dissipate oedema, clean 
ulcers, and repress herpes [viral infection]. Smeared on it 
destroys fistulas, and soothes inflamed parts. Sprinkled 
on dry it stops nomae [grazer disease, eats away muscle, 
tissue and bones], and a decoction (taken as a drink with 
wine) cures the intestines. There is a similar story told of 
this as there is of the dog's stone [cyanosorchis 3-141], 

3-143. SATURION 


suggested: Satyrion-trifolium [Fuchs], 

Orchis tri folia major [Bauhin], Orchis bi folia [Linnaeus], 

H abenaria bi folia [Brunfels] 

[other usage] Satyrium hircinum, Orchis hircina 
— Lizard Orchis 

S atyrium some call tri folium because it bears leaves in 
threes (as it were) bending down to the earth, similar 
to rumex [2-141] or lily, yet smaller and reddish. It has a 
naked stalk a foot long, a white flower similar to a lily, a 


521 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


bulbous root as big as an apple — red, but white within, 
similar to an egg, sweet to the taste and pleasant in the 
mouth. One ought to drink it in black hard wine for 
severe spasms, and use it if he wishes to lay with a 
woman. For they say that this also is an aphrodisiac. 

3-144. SATURION ERUTHRONION 

suggested: Satyrium-basilicum mas [Fuchs, Brunfels], 
Orchis palmata angusti folia minor [Bauhin], 

Gymnadenia conopsea [Brunfels], Orchis con opsea [Linnaeus] 
— Gnat-like Orchid 

Satyrium-basilicum foemina, Satyrium-basilicum mas alterum 
[Fuchs], Orchis maculata [Linnaeus], Orchis Fuchsii [in 
Sprague] — Early Purple Orchid, Dead Man's Finger 

[other usage] Erythronium dens-canis — Dog's-tooth Violet 

Modern satyrium species are only found at the Cape of Good Hope. 


S atyrium erythronium has a seed similar to flax seed but 
big, firm, glittering and smooth. It is said that it is an 
aphrodisiac, like scincus. The bark of the root is somewhat 
thin and red, but the inside is white, pleasant in the 
mouth to one who tastes it, and sweet. It grows in sunny, 
hilly places. It is related that the root (taken into the hand) 
encourages venereal diseases, but even more so when a 
decoction is taken as a drink with wine. It is also called 
satyrium erythraicum, melium aquaticum , entaticon, 
priapiscus , morion, satyriscus, or testiculum satyri ; the 
Romans call it molorticulum veneris. 

3-145. ORMINON EMERON 


suggested: Orminum sativum [Fuchs], 

Horminum sclarea dictum [Bauhin], Salvia sclarea [Finnaeus] 

— Clary 

Orminum sylvestre, Salvia sylvestris [Fuchs], 

H orminum pratense foliis serratis [Bauhin], 

Salvia pratensis [Finnaeus] — Meadow Sage, Clary 
H orminum domesticum, Salvia horminum — Common Sage, 
Annual Clary 

C ultivated horminum is an herb similar to marrubium 
in the leaves, but the stalk is four-cornered and half a 


522 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


foot high. There are abnormal growths similar to husks 
around this (as it were) looking towards the root, in 
which are two different types of seed. In the wild it is 
found round and dark, but in the other it is somewhat 
long and black. Use is made of this and it is also thought 
that a decoction (taken as a drink with wine) is an 
aphrodisiac. With honey it cleans away dr gem a [small 
white ulcer on the cornea], and also white spots on the 
corneas of the eyes; and smeared on with water it 
dissolves oedema and extracts splinters. The herb 
(applied) does the same things. The wild one is stronger; 
as a result it is mixed with compound ointments 
(especially with gleucinum [1-67]). The Romans call it 
geminatis, and the Dacians, hormia. 

3-146. EDUSARON 

suggested: Hedysarum crinitum 
— Crook-podded Hedysarum 
H edysarum coronarium — French Honeysuckle, Soola Clover 
Hedysarum alhagi, Alhagi maurorum, Alhagi mannifera 
— Camel Thorn, Egyptian Manna Plant 
Biserrula pelecinus — Hatchet Vetch 

H edysarum (called pelecinus by the ointment makers) 
is a shrub with little leaves similar to cicer [2-126], 
but pods like little horns in which is the red seed similar 
to an axe that has two edges (from which it is named). It is 
bitter to one who tastes it; a decoction (taken as a drink) is 
good for the stomach, and it is also mixed with antidotes. 
Taken as a pessary with honey before sexual intercourse 
it is thought to hinder conception. It grows among barley 
and wheat. 


3-147. ONOSMA 


SUGGESTED: 0 nosma echioides — Hairy Onosma 
also: 0 nosma tauricum, Onosma oriental e, Onosma sericeum 

O nosma has soft leaves similar to those of anchusa, 
somewhat long, the length of four fingers but the 
breadth of one finger, scattered on the earth very like 
those of anchusa [4-23 to 4-26]; but it is without stalk, seed, 
or flowers. The little root lies underneath, somewhat 


523 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


long, weak, thin, and reddish. It grows in rough places. A 
decoction of the leaves of this (taken as a drink in wine) is 
an abortifacient. They say also that if one with child walks 
over this herb, she aborts. It is also called osmas, phlonitis, 
or ononis. 


3-148. NUMPHAIA 


suggested : Nymphaea Candida [Fuchs], 

Nymphaea alba major [Bauhin], Nymphaea alba [Linnaeus] 

— Water Nymph, White Water Lily, Flatter Dock 

N ymphaea grows in marshes and standing waters; it 
has many leaves similar to those of the Egyptian 
bean, yet smaller and somewhat longer, all from the same 
root, some (in a way) standing above the water, and 
others also in the water. The flowers are white, similar to 
a lily, with the middle a saffron colour, but when it has 
done blooming it becomes round in a circumference like 
an apple, or the head of poppy — black; in which is a 
black seed, broad, thick, clammy to the taste. The stalk is 
smooth, not thick, black, similar to that of the Egyptian 
bean. The root is black, coarse, like a sceptre, and it is 
harvested in the autumn. This (dried and taken as a drink 
with wine) helps coeliac [intestinal] complaints and 
dysentery, and reduces the spleen. The root is applied for 
disorders of the stomach and bladder; with water it takes 
away psoriasis, and applied with pitch it cures baldness. 
The root is taken as a drink for lecherous dreams because 
it relieves these. It causes a faintness of the genitals for a 
few days if one drinks it continuously, and a decoction of 
the seed (taken as a drink) does the same. It seems to be 
called nymphaea because it loves watery places. It is found 
in abundance at Helis on the river Anigrus, and in 
Aliartus, Boeotia. 


524 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-149. NUMPHAIA ALLE 


suggested: Nymphaea lutea [Fuchs], 

Nymphaea lutea major [Bauhin], Nymphaea lutea [Linnaeus], 
Nymphaea luteum, N uphar luteum [in Sprague] 

— Yellow Water Lily, Brandy Bottle 

T here is also another nymphaea (the flower of which is 
called n uphar) which has leaves similar to that 
previously mentioned, but it has a coarse white root, and 
a glittering yellowish flower (like a rose). A decoction of 
the root and seed (taken as a drink in black wine) is good 
for the excessive menstrual discharges of women. It 
grows in places around Thessalia near the river Peneus. It 
is also called nymphona. 


3-150. ANDROSACES 


suggested: A ndrosace lactea — Androsace, Sea Navelwort 
also: Androsace obtusi folia 



nd rosaces grows in sea-bordering places in Syria. The 


L Y.herb is thin, with slender, bitter, leafless branches, 
having on its head a pod containing the seed. Two 
teaspoonfuls of a decoction (taken as a drink with wine) 
is able to encourage much urine in dropsy; and a 
decoction of the herb and the seed (taken as a drink) does 
the same. It is smeared usefully upon gout. It is also called 
pi eras, leuce, or thalassia. 


3-151. ASPLENON 


suggested: Asplenium adiantium-nigrum,Adiantium-nigrum 
— Black Maidenhair Fern, Black Spleenwort, Black Oak Fern 
A diantum capillus veneris, H erba capillorum-veneris 
— Maidenhair, Venus's Hair, Capillaire 


see 3-121 


A splenon has many leaves (similar to the creatures 
called centipedes and millipedes) growing round 
about out of one root. It grows on walls and shady rocks 
or pebble stones — stalkless, flowerless, seedless, [its 
leaves] cut-in like those of fern, yellowish and rough 
underneath, but green above. The leaves (boiled with 


525 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


vinegar and taken as a drink for forty days) are able to 
reduce the spleen, but you must also rub the spleen with 
the leaves pounded into small pieces with wine. It helps 
slow painful urination, hiccups and jaundice, and breaks 
stones in the bladder. It is thought to be a cause of 
barrenness (used alone or hung about one with the 
spleen of a mule) but they say that to cause barrenness it 
must be dug up when the night is moonless. It is also 
called scolopendrium, splenium, hemionion, pteryx, lonchitis, 
aturius, phrygia, phrygitis, or philtrodotes, while the Magi 
call it the blood of a weasel. 

3-152. EMIONITIS 


suggested: Hemionitis, Scolopendria, Lingua cervina [Fuchs], 
Lingua cervina officinarum [Bauhin], A splenium scolopendrium , 
Phyl litis scolopendrium [Linnaeus] — Hart's-tongue Fern 

[other usage] H emionitis [Bedevian] — Mulewort, Hemionitis 

H emionitis puts out a horned leaf similar to 
dracunculus [2-196b] (like the third-day moon). The 
many slender roots are underneath, but it bears no stalk, 
seed, or flower. It grows in rocky places. The herb is 
astringent to the taste and is taken as a drink with vinegar 
to reduce the spleen. It is also called splenium. 

3-153. ANTHULLIS 


suggested: A nthyllis vulneraria, Anthyllis prior 
— Kidney Vetch, Lady's Fingers, Wound Wort 
Anthyllis barba jovis — Jove's Beard, Jupiter's Beard 
A nthyllis cretica — Cretan Kidney Vetch 

T here are two types of anthyllis. One has leaves similar 
to lens [lentils], and upright little branches the height 
of twenty centimetres, with the leaves soft, the root 
slender and little. It grows in sandy sunny places, 
somewhat salty to the taste. The other kind is similar in its 
leaves and small branches to chamepitys [3-175], but they 
are rougher, shorter, and sharper. The flower is a purple 
colour, smelling extremely strong, the root like chicory. 
Two teaspoonfuls of a decoction (taken as a drink) has 
considerable strength to help frequent painful urination 


526 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


and inflamed kidneys. Pounded into small pieces and 
given as a pessary (with rosaceum [1-53] and milk) they 
soften inflammations of the womb. They also heal 
wounds, and a decoction (taken as a drink with vinegar 
and honey) of that which is similar to chamepitys heals 
epilepsy (among other things). It is also called an thy 1 1 on, 
anthemis, eranthemis, leucanthemon, soranthis, or f/os 
campestris; the Romans call it sot aster. 

3-154. ANTHEMIS, ANTHEMIS 
PORPHURANTHES, ANTHEMIS 
MELANANTHES 


suggested: Chamaemelon leucanthemum [Fuchs, Brunfels], 
Chamaemelum vulgare, Leucanthemum Dioscoridis [Bauhin], 

M atricaria recucita, M atricaria chamomitta [Linnaeus] 

— Wild Chamomile 

Chamaemdum chrysanthemum [Fuchs], A nthemis tinctoria 
[Linnaeus] — Dyers Chamomile, Yellow Chamomile 
Chamaemdum eranthemon [Fuchs], Consolida regia [Brunfels], 
Consolida regal is arvensis [Bauhin], 

D elphinium consolida [Linnaeus] — Forking Larkspur 

T here are three kinds of anthemis (differing only in 
their flowers) the branches twenty centimetres long, 
shrubby, with many wings. The smaller branches are 
little, thin, many, with little round heads, within them 
flowers of gold colour; but outside there are round about 
white, yellowish, or purple leaves, the quantities like 
those of rue. It grows in rough places and byways. It is 
gathered in the spring. The roots, flowers, and herb have 
a warming, relieving strength. Taken as a drink of a 
decoction (or by bathing) they expel the menstrual flow, 
are abortifacient, expel stones [urinary, kidney], and 
induce urine. They are taken as a drink for gaseousness, 
and for suffering from intestinal obstruction; they clean 
away jaundice, and cure liver ailments; and a decoction 
of them is used in warm packs for the bladder. The most 
effective for those troubled with stones is that of a purple 
colour, which in all respects is the bigger, properly called 
eranthemon. That called leucanthemon is more urinary, as 
well as chrysanthemon. Smeared on they cure ulcers in the 
inner angle of the eye. Chewed, they cure apta [aptha — 
thrush in children or candidiasis]. Some also use it as a 


527 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


suppository (beating it finely with oil) for recurrent 
fevers. The leaves and flowers must be stored when they 
have been pounded apart and made into little balls. The 
root is dried and stored. When there is need of it 
sometimes give two parts of the herb, sometimes one part 
of the flower or root. Sometimes the opposite — give two 
parts of the flower and one of the herb, doubling it by 
turn every other day — and you must drink it in diluted 
honey. (Chamomile pounded into small pieces with 
rosaceum [1-53] cures fevers. It is an effective plant for 
those who are reasonably well. The shortest is best and 
grows in sandy places, and physicians remove them at 
the beginning of spring). It is also called leucanthemon, or 
eranthemon because it flowers in the spring; some call it 
chamemelum because of the similarity of its smell to 
apples; some call it melanthemon, chrysocome, or cal lias; the 
Romans call it malium, and the Africans, astertiphe. 

3-155. PARTHENION (AMARAKON) 

suggested: A maracinum, Parthenium, Cotula foetida [Fuchs], 
Chamaemelum foetidum [Bauhin], An themis cotula [Linnaeus] 
— Stinking Chamomile, Mayweed [Mabberley] 

[other usage] 0 riganum amaracus — Amaracus 
0 riganum dictamnus, D ictamnus creticus, A maracus dictamnus 
— Dittany of Crete, Burning Bush 

P arthenium has thin leaves (similar to coriander); the 
white flowers are in a circle, their middle is yellow, 
and they are somewhat poisonous to smell and bitter to 
taste. Dried and taken as a drink with vinegar and honey 
(or with salt) it is able to drive phlegm and cholera 
downward and out, and to help the asthmatic and 
depressive. The herb (without its flower) is effective 
(given in drink) for urinary stones and the asthmatic. A 
decoction of it is fit for bathing a hardened and inflamed 
womb. It is applied (with its flowers) for skin 
inflammation and other inflammation. It is also called 
amaracum, leucanthemon , an themis, chamemelum, 
chrysocalis, melabathrum, or flos campestris; the Romans call 
it Solis oculus, or millefolium, the Etruscans, cautan, and the 
Africans, thamacth. 


528 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-156. BUPHTHALMON 

suggested: Buphthalmum, Oculis bovis [Fuchs], 
Chamaemelum inodorum [Bauhin], M atricaria inodora 
[Linnaeus] — False Chamomile, Scentless Mayweed 
[other usage] Buphthalmum graveolens— Ox-eye 
Buphthalmum salici folium — Yellow Ox-eye Daisy 
Anthemis arvensis, Chamaemelum arvensis, Buphthalmum 
— Corn Chamomile 

It is believed that the buhphthalmum of Pliny is a species of anthemis [Loudon], 

B uphthalmum sends out somewhat slender tender little 
stalks, leaves like marathrum [3-81], yellowish flowers 
— bigger than anthemis, similar to eyes (from which it is 
named). It grows in fields and around towns. The flowers 
of this (pounded into small pieces with wax ointment) 
dissolve oedema and hard lumps. They say that a 
decoction (taken as a drink after coming out from a bath) 
causes the j aundiced to have a good colour for some time. 

You must gather buphthalmum while the moon is 
increasing. It is used against fears, devils, enchantments, 
and poisons (turning aside these things); and if anyone 
chews the root (and afterwards spits it out) it 
immediately stops mucus, eases toothache, and loosens 
the bowels. It is also called each I an, or balsam in a, the Magi 
call it haemorrha, some, genitura M ercurii, semen 
incorruptibile, or mnesitheos; the Romans call it 
kappacorania, and the Africans, narat. 

3-157. PAIONIA ARREN, PAIONIA 
THELEIA 


suggested: Paeonia foemina [Fuchs], Paeonia communis 
[Bauhin], Paeonia officinalis var foemina [Linnaeus] 

— Female Peony, Garden Peony 

POISONOUS 

P eonia (or glycyside) some call pentoboron, and they call 
the root paeonia. The stalk grows as high as two feet 
with many branches. The male has leaves similar to the 
carya [1-178], but the female is jagged in the leaves 
(similar to smyrnium [3-78, 3-79]). It sends out certain 
pods on the top of the stalk similar to almonds, which 
opened are found to contain five or six little red grains 


529 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


similar to those of the pomegranate — black in the 
middle, inclining to purple. The root of the male is about 
the thickness of a finger and twenty centimetres in 
height, astringent to taste, white. On the root of the 
female there are seven or eight tubers similar to acorns, 
like asphode/us [2-199]. The root is given to women who 
are not cleansed after childbirth. The amount of an 
almond (of a decoction taken as a drink) induces the 
menstrual flow. A decoction (taken as a drink with wine) 
helps pains in the intestines, jaundice, inflamed kidneys, 
and pain in the bladder. A decoction (boiled in wine and 
taken as a drink) stops discharges of the bowels. A 
decoction of ten or twelve red grains of the seed (taken as 
a drink in black hard wine) stops bloody excessive 
discharges (in women). Eaten, they help those who feel 
gnawing at the stomach, and taken as a drink and eaten 
by children they take away the beginnings of stones 
[kidney, urinary], A decoction of as much as fifteen 
grains of the black [part] (taken as a drink in honey water 
or wine) is good both for suffocation that comes from 
nightmares, and for suffocation of the womb and 
disorders of the mother [pregnancy]. Peony grows on the 
tops of the highest mountains. 

The herb peony is plucked up in the heat of the dog 
days [summer] before sunrise; it is hanged about one and 
is good against poisons, bewitching, fears, and devils and 
their assaults, and against fevers that come with 
shivering whether by night, or day, or paroxysm. And it 
is said that (sometimes) growing on a hill where there 
were devils, it drove them away. 

The male peonie some call orobelium, orobax, 
haemagogum , paeseden, menogenion, menion, paeonium, 
panthiceratos, idaei dactyli, aglaophotis, theodonium, or 
selenion, the Magi call it selenogonon, some, phthisi and the 
Romans, casta. 


530 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-158. LITHOSPERMON 

suggested: Lithospermum, Lithospermum sativum [Fuchs], 
Lithospermum majuserectum [Bauhin], 
Lithospermum officinale [Linnaeus], M ilium soiis, 

— Common Gromwell, Pearl Plant 

S ome call lithospermon 'Heraclean' because of the 
strength of the seed, which is also called lithospermon. 
It has leaves similar to those of the olive, but longer, 
broader and softer, and those around the bottom lie on 
the ground. The small branches are straight, slender, the 
thickness of the sharp bulrush, strong, woody. On the 
cloven top of them is a springing-out (similar to little 
budded stems) with long leaves, among which is a round 
white stone seed similar to the little ervum [2-129, 2-131]. 
It grows in rough eminent places. A decoction of the seed 
(taken as a drink with white wine) is able to break stones 
[kidney, urinary], and expel urine. Some call it 
aegonychon, exonychon, leontion, lapis leoninus, gorgonium, 
tantalitis, or diosporon, the Romans call it columba, and the 
Dacians, gonoleta. 

3-159. PHALARIS 

suggested: Phalaris arundinacea, Phalaris canariensis 
— Canary Grass, Phalaris 

P halaris sends out many little stalks from slender 
useless roots — the breadth of two hands, knotty, 
similar to reeds, resembling those of zea [T riticum zea ], yet 
more slender and sweet in taste. The leaves are similar to 
those of zea. The white seed is abundant like millet, and 
somewhat long. The herb (cut and juiced with water or 
wine and so taken as a drink) is able to be effective for 
disorders of the bladder and sperm; a spoonful of a 
decoction (taken as a drink with water) is good for the 
same purposes. 


531 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-160. ERUTHRODANON 

suggested: Rubiasativa [Fuchs], Rubia tinctorum [Fuchs, 
Linnaeus], R ubia tinctorum sativa [Bauhin] — Dyer's Madder 
Rubia sylvestris [Fuchs], Rubia sylvestris laevis [Bauhin], 
Gallium molugo — Hedge Bedstraw [Mabberley] 

[other usage] Rubia peregrin a — Wild Madder 

S ome call eruthrodanum 'erythodanon'. The red root is 
suitable for dying. Some of it is wild, some sown — as 
in Thabana, Galilee and Ravenna, Italy and in Caria — 
sown among the olives, like in the fields. It is sown 
usefully because much gain is made of it. The stalks of it 
are four-cornered, long, rough, similar to those of aparine, 
but in every respect bigger and stronger, having the 
leaves at distances at every joint lying about like stars in a 
circle. The seed is round, at first green, afterwards red, 
after that it is ripe, black. The root is thin, long, red, and 
diuretic; as a result a decoction (taken as a drink with 
honey and water) helps jaundice, sciatica, and paralysis. 
It draws out quantities of thick urine, and sometimes also 
blood. Those who drink it must be washed every day and 
the difference of their voided excrement viewed. A 
decoction of the stalk with the leaves (taken as a drink) 
helps those bitten by venomous creatures, and a 
decoction (taken as a drink with vinegar and honey) 
reduces the spleen. The root (inserted as a pessary) is an 
abortifacient, and draws out the menstrual flow and 
afterbirth. Smeared on with vinegar it cures white 
vitiligines [form of leprosy]. The root some call dracons, 
some, cinnabar, the Romans, rubia passiva, the Etruscians, 
lappa minor, the Egyptians, sophobi, some ereuthodanum, 
and it is also called teuthrion. 

3-161. LONCHITIS 


suggested: Lonchitis, Polypodium lonchitis, Serapias, 
A spidium lonchitis — Shield Fern, Holly Fern 

see 3-162 


L onchitis has many leaves very similar to leek, yet 
broader and somewhat red, broken about towards 
the root (and as it were) lying on the ground. It also has a 


532 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


few around the stalk, on which are flowers — similar to 
little hats in shape (similar to comical persons opening 
their mouths wide) — and they are black, but some white 
thing arises from them, from opening the mouth wide 
towards the lower lip (as it were) a little tongue. The seed 
is shut in three-cornered cases shaped like a spearhead, 
from which it was thought worthy of its surname. The 
root is similar to daucus. It grows in rough, dry places. A 
decoction of the root of this (taken as a drink) with wine is 
diuretic. It is also called cestron, or medusa; the Romans 
call it venerea, or lanceola. 

3-162. LONCHITIS ETERA 

SUGGESTED: Shield Fern, Holly Fern — Lonchitis, 
Polypodium lonchitis, Serapias, Aspidium lonchitis 


see 3-161 


L onchitis altera (also called the rough lonchitis ) sends 
out leaves similar to scolopendrium [3-121], but 
sharper, bigger, and more jagged. A decoction (taken as a 
drink with vinegar) is able to cure wounds and remove 
inflammation, and it reduces the spleen. The Romans call 
it longina, or calabrina. 

3-163. ALTHAIA 

suggested: A Ithaea [Fuchs], Althaea D ioscoridis et Plinii 
[Bauhin], Althaea officinalis [Linnaeus], Bismalva, Hibiscus 
— Marsh Mallow, White Mallow 



Ithaea is a kind of wild mallow, the downy leaves 


L JLround like cyclamen. It has a rose-like flower, the 
stalk two feet high, and a clammy root, white within. It is 
called althaea for its many properties and various uses. 
Boiled in honey and water or wine (or pounded by itself) 
it is good for wounds, parotitis [inflamed glands e.g. 
mumps], swellings, suppurations, inflamed breasts, 
disorders of the perineum, bruises, flatulent tumours, 
and distension of the nerves. It dissolves and ripens, or 
breaks and brings to a scar. Boiled (as above) and 
kneaded together with swines' grease, goose grease or 
turpentine it is good in a pessary for inflammation and 
closures of the womb. A decoction of it does the same. 


533 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


also expelling the so-called bodily wastes. A decoction of 
the root (taken as a drink with wine) helps dysentery, 
pains in the hips, trembling, and those troubled with 
hernia; and it soothes toothache, boiled with vinegar and 
the mouth washed with it. The seed (either green or dry) 
pounded into small pieces and rubbed on with vinegar in 
the sun cleans vitiligines [form of leprosy]. Rubbed on 
with oxdaeum [from oxalis or wood sorrel] it prevents hurt 
from poisonous beasts. It is effective against dysentery, 
vomiting blood, and excessive discharges from the 
bowels. A decoction of the seed (taken as a drink) is good 
against bee stings, and those of all small creatures (taken 
as a drink in wine or posca [hot drinks]); and the leaves 
(with a little oil) are laid on bites and on those who are 
burned. The root thickens water (pounded into small 
pieces, mixed, and placed out in the open air). It is also 
called ibiscus, or althiocon. 


3-164. ALKEA 


suggested: A Icea [Fuchs, Brunfels], A Icea vulgaris major 
[Bauhin], M alva alcea [Linnaeus] — Hollyhock [Mabberley] 
[other usage] A Icea cannabina, Althea cannabina 
— Egyptian Hemp 



Icea is a kind of wild mallow having cut-in leaves 


L JLsimilar to those of the holy herb. It has three or four 
stalks, a bark similar to cannabis [3-165], a little flower 
similar to a rose, and five or six broad white roots almost a 
foot long. A decoction of these (taken as a drink with 
wine or water) cures dysentery and hernias. 


3-165. KANNABIS EMEROS 


SUGGESTED: Cannabis sativa [Fuchs, Brunfels, Linnaeus], 

C annabis gig an tea — Hemp 

C annabis is a plant of considerable use in this life for 
twisting very strong ropes. It bears leaves with a bad 
scent, similar to the ash; long hollow stalks, and a round 
seed. Eaten in quantities these quench conception. The 
herb (juiced while green) is good for earaches. It is also 
called cannabium, schoenostrophon, or asterion; the Romans 
call it cannabis. 


534 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-166. KANNABIS AGRIA 


suggested: H ibiscus cannabinus — Hemp Mallow, 
Deccan Hemp 

Cannabis sativa var indica — Indian Hemp 
D atisca cannabina — Cretan Hemp Plant, Bastard Hemp 

C annabis sylvestris bears little stems similar to those of 
althea [3-163] but darker, sharper and smaller. The 
leaves are similar to the cultivated but sharper and 
darker. The reddish flowers are similar to lychnis [3-114, 
3-115], with the seed and root similar to althea. The root 
(boiled and applied) is able to lessen inflammation, 
dissolve oedema, and disperse hardened matter around 
the joints. The bark of this is suitable for twining ropes. It 
is also called hydrastina, the Romans call it terminalis, and 
some, cannabis. 

3-167. ANAGURIS [ONAGURIS] 


SUGGESTED: Anagyris foetida — Bean Clover, Stinking Wood 

A nagyris is a shrub similar to a tree, its leaves and 
stems very similar to agnus castus [1-135], with an 
extremely strong scent. The flowers are similar to brassica, 
the seed in long little horns shaped like kidneys, 
variously coloured, solid. They harden when the grapes 
ripen. The tender leaves of this (pounded into small 
pieces and applied) repress oedema. A teaspoonful is 
given to drink in passu m [raisin wine] for asthma, as well 
as for expulsion of the afterbirth and menstrual flow, and 
as an abortifacient. It is given with wine for headaches. It 
is hung as an amulet on those who have hard labour [in 
giving birth], yet one must at once (after the woman's 
delivery) take off the amulet and put it away. The juice of 
the root dissolves and ripens. The seed (eaten) 
encourages vomiting excessively. It is also called 
anagyros , acopon, or agnacopum. 


535 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-168. KEPAIA 


UNKNOWN 

C epea is a succulent similar to portulaca [4-168], yet it 
has darker leaves, and a thin root. A decoction of the 
leaves (taken as a drink with wine) helps slow painful 
urination and those who have a scabbed bladder, and 
helps most taken as a drink with a decoction of the roots 
of that asparagus called my acanthus. 

3-169. ALISMA 

suggested: Plantago-aquatica, Alisma, D amasonium [Fuchs], 
Plantago-aquatica lati folia, A iisma plantago-aquatica [Linnaeus] 
— Water Plantain, Mad-dog Weed 

see 1-11 


A lisma has leaves similar to plantain but narrower and 
bending down toward the earth. The stalk is 
slender, single, more than a foot high, with little heads 
similar to a thyrsus [staff]. The flowers are thin, white, and 
somewhat pale. The roots are like black hellebore — thin, 
sweet-smelling, sharp, somewhat thick; it loves watery 
places. One or two teaspoonfuls of a decoction of the root 
(taken as a drink with wine) is good for those who have 
eaten sea hare [2-20], or been bitten by a toad, and those 
who have drunk opium [antidote]. It helps griping and 
dysentery by itself (or taken as a drink with an equal 
amount of daucus seed). It is also good for convulsions, 
and disorders of the womb. The herb itself (applied) stops 
discharges of the intestines, expels the menstrual flow, 
and soothes oedema. It is also called alcea, damassonium, 
acyron, or lyron. 


536 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-170. ONOBRUCHIS 


suggested : H edysaru m on obrychi s, On obrychi s sati va, 
Onobrychis viciaefolia — Sanfoin, Holy Clover, French Grass 
Onobrychis christagalli — Medick Vetch 

see 3-41 


O nobrychis has leaves similar to lens [lentils] but a 
little longer, a stalk twenty centimetres long, a 
purple flower, and a small root. It grows in moist 
undisturbed places. The herb (pounded into small pieces 
and smeared on) is able to dissolve tubercles [growths], 
and a decoction (taken as a drink with wine) cures slow 
painful urination. Rubbed on with oil it encourages 
sweating. It is also called onobrochilos, eschasmene, 
hypericum, corion, or chamepitys , the Romans call it opaca, 
some, brichilata, lopta, or iuncinalis, and the Dacians, 
aniassexe. 


3-171. UPERIKON 

suggested: Hypericum, Perforata [Fuchs], Hypericum vulgare 
[Bauhin], Hypericum perforatum [Linnaeus] 

— Klamath Weed [Mabberley] 

H ypericum is a shrub twenty centimetres high, full of 
reddish branches, with a yellowish flower that 
(crushed with the fingers) yields a bloody juice — which 
is why it is called androsemon. It has leaves similar to rue. 
The small pods are somewhat rough, long in the 
circumference, the size of barley, in which is a black seed 
smelling of rosin. It grows in tilled and rough places. It 
has a diuretic strength, and inserted as a pessary moves 
the menstrual flow. A decoction (taken as a drink with 
wine) drives away fevers with paroxysms ocurring every 
third or fourth day. A decoction of the seed (taken as a 
drink for forty days) cures sciatica. The leaves (applied 
together with the seed) heal burns. It is also called 
androsemon, corion, or chamepitys, because the seed is 
similar in smell to the rosin of pine. 


537 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


3-172. ASKURON 


suggested: Ascy rum [Fuchs], A ndrosaemum hirsutum 
[Bauhin], Hypericum hirsutum [Linnaeus] 

Siberian St John's Wort — Hypericum ascyron 

A scyrum is also a kind of hypericum, differing in size, 
bigger in the branches, more full of sprigs, and with 
the small leaves appearing a purple colour; it bears 
yellow flowers, and fruit (similar to hypericum ) smelling 
of rosin, and bruised (as it were), staining the fingers with 
blood, so that it is called acrosemon for this. A decoction of 
the fruit (taken as a drink with a pint of honey water) is 
available for sciatica. It expels much bilious excrement. It 
must be given continuously until they are cured. 
Smeared on, it is good for burns. It is also called ascyroides, 
or acrosemon. 

3-173. ANDROSAIMON 

suggested: An drosaeu mum [Fuchs], 

Hypericum montanum [Linnaeus] — Mountain St John's Wort 

[other usage] A ndrosaemum hircinum, Hypericum hircinum 
— Stinking St John's Wort, Goat-scented St John's Wort 

A ndrosaemum officinale, Hypericum androsaemum — Tutsan, 
Park Leaves, All Saint's Wort 

A ndrosemum differs from hypericum and from ascyrum 
being a shrub of thin branches, full of sprigs. The 
little stems are a purple colour, the leaves three times or 
four times bigger than rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98], which send 
out a juice similar to wine when bruised. It has many 
wings on the top open on each side and feathered, 
around which are small little flowers of a yellowish 
colour. The seed is in a little cup similar to that of black 
poppy (as it were) marked with lines and points. The 
filaments yield a rosin-like smell when bruised. Two 
teaspoonfuls of the seed of this (pounded into small 
pieces and taken in a drink) expel bilious excrement, and 
it especially cures sciatica. One must sip water after the 
purge. The herb (smeared on) heals burns and stops 
blood. It is also called dionysias, or ascyron. 


538 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


3-174. KORIS 


SUGGESTED: Hypericum coris — Heath-leaved St John's Wort, 


Coris 

Coris monspdien sis, Symphytum petraeum [Bedevian] 
— Montpellier Coris 


see 3-88, 4-9 



oris has a leaf similar to erica but smaller, fatter and 


^^red. It is a shrub twenty centimetres high, pleasant- 
tasting, sharp, and with a good smell. A decoction of the 
seed of this (taken as a drink with wine) induces the 
passage of urine and the menstrual flow. A decoction 
(taken as a drink with pepper) helps those bitten by 
harvest spiders, or with sciatica, tetanus, or chills. Used 
with oil it is also an effective ointment for severe spasms. 
The root of this (boiled with wine and taken as a drink) is 
thought to help those who faint often. It is necessary for 
the patient when drinking it to be well covered all over 
for it causes the whole body to sweat, and from this one 
recovers agility. Some also call this hy peri cum. 


3-175. CH AM AIPITU S 


suggested: Chamaepitys lutea vulgaris [Bauhin], 
Teucrium chamaepitys [Linnaeus], Ajuga chamaepitys [in 
Sprague] — Ground Pine, Yellow Bugle 

C hamaepitys is a bow-backed herb creeping on the 
ground, with leaves similar to the smaller 
sempervivum [4-89, 4-90, 4-91], but much thinner, fatter 
and rough, thick around the branches, with a smell of 
pine. The flowers are thin and yellow, (or white) and the 
root is like that of chicory. A decoction of the leaves of this 
(taken as a drink with wine for seven days) cures 
jaundice. A decoction (taken as a drink with honey water 
for forty days) cures hip pains. It is given (effectively) for 
liver complaints, frequent painful urination and 
inflamed kidneys, and it is good for griping. In Heraclea, 
Pontus they use it as an antidote, giving a decoction to 
drink against aconitum [4-77, 4-78]. Polenta (moistened 
with a decoction of the herb) is applied for the purposes 
mentioned above. Pounded into small pieces with figs 
(and given as a pill) it soothes the bowels. Taken with 


539 


ROOTS OF AKANTHODA or PRICKLY PLANTS 


honey, SCdles aeris [flakes of fish of the air], and rosin it 
purges. Applied as a pessary (with honey) it expels things 
from the womb. Smeared on with honey it dissolves hard 
lumps in the breasts, heals wounds, and represses herpes 
[viral skin infection]. It is also called pitusorusis, or 
orizelon, in Pontus they call it holocyron, or wild bryony, 
the Athenians call it ionia, in Euboea it is called sideritis; 
the Magi call it sanguis M inervae, the Romans, cupripum , 
and the Dacians dochela. 

3-176. CHAMAIPITUS ETERA, 
CHAMAIPITUS TRITE 


suggested: A juga chia — Chia Bugle 
Ajuga iva, T eucrium iva — Herb Ivy, Musky Bugle 
A juga reptans — Bugle Weed, Common Bugle 

T here is also another chamaepitys with branches a foot 
long, curved in the shape of an anchor, with thin 
sprigs, filaments similar to that above, and a white flower, 
but a black seed. This also smells of pine. There is a third 
kind called the male. It is a smooth little herb, with thin 
small leaves, white and rough, with a coarse white stalk, 
small yellowish flowers, and a little seed with wings. This 
also smells of pine. These have a similar strength to that 
previously mentioned, yet are not as effective. 



Delphinium peregrinum 
after FAGUET — 1894 


540 




THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


200 B eronica fylueftris altera* 

Vlcgdin. 



541 


3S 2 


PoTygonum mas* 


Polygonum mas 
from FUCHS — 1545 



542 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER 
HERBS & ROOTS 


I n the three books before this, best beloved Areius, I 
have spoken of aromatic matters, oils, ointments, trees, 
living creatures, cereals, vegetables, roots, juices, herbs 
and seeds. In this the fourth book we will discuss herbs 
and roots not previously mentioned. 

4-1. KESTRON 


suggested: Betonica [Fuchs], Betonica purpurea [Bauhin], 
Betonica officinalis [Linnaeus], Stachys officinalis [in Sprague], 
Stachys b&onica — Betony, Woundwort, Bishop's Wort, 
Hedge Nettle, Windflower 
[other usage] Cestrum nocturnum — Night Jasmine 


C estron is a herb with a thin four-cornered stalk the 
height of a foot or more, the leaves long, soft, similar 
to the oak, jagged all around, smelling well. They are 
bigger towards the root, and on the top of the stalks lies 
the seed encased in an ear like thymbra [3-45]. They ought 
to dry the leaves after gathering, as there is the most use 
of these. The roots underneath are thin like hellebore. A 
drink of a decoction of these (with honey water) 
encourages vomit, throwing up phlegmy stuff. A 
decoction of a teaspoonful of the leaves is taken as a drink 
with honey water for convulsions, hernia, disorders of 
the womb, and womb constriction. Three teaspoonfuls 
are given with a pint of wine to those bitten by venomous 
creatures. The herb (applied) helps those bitten by 
venomous creatures, and a teaspoonful of a decoction 
(taken as a drink with wine) helps against deadly poisons 
[antidote]. If anyone drinks it (beforehand) he shall not 
be hurt, although he takes a deadly medicine. It is also 
urinary, and draws out the menstrual flow. Four 
teaspoonfuls of a decoction (taken as a drink with ten 
cups of honey water) purge. It is good with honey for 
tuberculosis of the lungs, and for spitting up pus, but the 
leaves must be dried, pounded into small pieces, and 
stored in a ceramic jar. It is called psychotrophon because it 
is found in the coldest places. The Romans call it vetonica, 
or rosmarinus. 



Betony - Betonica officinalis, 
Stachys officinalis 

after FAGUET — 1888 


543 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


4-2. BETTONIKE 

suggested: Betonica sylvestris una [Fuchs], 
Caryophyllus sylvestris vulgaris latifolius [Bauhin], 

D ianthus earth u si an or um [Linnaeus] — Carthusian Pink 
Betonica coronaria, D ianthus caryophyllus, 
Caryophyllus domesticus — - Carnation, Picotee, Clove Pink 

B etonica, britannica, or vettonica is an herb with leaves 
similar to lapathum sylvestre [2-140] but darker, with 
more filaments, and astringent to the taste. It sends out a 
stalk that is not great, and a short thin root. The leaves are 
juiced and thickened by stirring in the sun or over a fire. 
It is astringent — suitable for gangrenous ulceration in 
the mouth and tonsils. It is available for everything else 
that needs an astringent. Betony grows in meadows and 
hilly, clean, mild places around shrubs. It preserves both 
the souls and bodies of men. It is effective against 
night-walking, harmful places, and difficult sleep; and it 
is recommended for all types of cures. It has a root all red, 
and with a good scent. The leaves are like leek, the 
middle of the leaves is a reddish colour, and they are 
three-cornered into an upright stalk. On them are purple 
flowers. The strength of it is as follows. Bruised when it is 
new and applied to the wound of a broken head it makes 
it painless. It heals wounds and extracts broken bones. It 
does this if changed every day until it is healed. Boiled 
with water and applied with hot cloths, or rubbed 
around the temples with bitumen it heals headaches. The 
smoke of the root is also inhaled for them. 

4-3. LUSIMACHION 


suggested: Lysimachia purpurea [Fuchs], Epilobium hirsutum 
[Linnaeus] — Apple Pie, Codlins and Cream 
Lysimachia lutea [Fuchs], Lysimachia vulgaris [Linnaeus] 

— Common Yellow Loosestrife 

see 4-118 


L ysimachia sends out thin stalks a foot high (or even 
higher) at the joints of which thin leaves emerge, 
similar to those of the willow, astringent to the taste. The 
flowers are red or a golden colour. It grows in marshy 
places and near water. The juice of the leaves is 


544 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Polygonum bistorta 
after FAGUET — 1892 


545 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


280 Lyfimachia Ititea, 
< Seel tPeiberid^ 



546 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


astringent, and a liquid medicine of it, enema, or 
suppository, is good for throwing-up blood and 
dysentery. In a pessary it stops women's excessive 
menstrual discharges. The herb is effective stuffed in the 
nostrils for flows of blood. It is also a wound herb and 
staunches blood. The smoke (inhaled) has very sharp 
fumes so that it both drives away snakes, and kill s flies. It 
is also called lytron. 

4-4. POLUGONON ARREN 

suggested: Polygonum-mas [Fuchs], Polygonum lati folium 
[Bauhin], Polygonum aviculare [Linnaeus] — Knotgrass, 
Centinode, Knotweed, Armstrong 

medicinal, food 


T he male polygon on is a tender herb with many slender 
branches surrounded with joints, creeping along the 
earth like grass, the leaves similar to those of rue [3-52, 
3-53, 4-98] but somewhat longer and softer. It has seed by 
every leaf, which is why it is called the male. The flower is 
white or purple. 

The juice (taken as a drink) is astringent and cooling. 
It is effective for bloodspitters, discharges from the 
intestines, biliousness, and slow painful urination. It also 
evidently causes an urge to urinate, and taken as a drink 
with wine it helps those bitten by venomous creatures. 
Taken one hour before the fit it helps the circuits of acute 
fevers. It stops women's excessive menstrual discharges 
used as a pessary, and dropped in the ears it is good for 
ear sores and their pus. Boiled with wine (and also 
adding honey) it is excellent for ulcers on the genitals. 
The leaves are applied for burning of the stomach, 
throwing-up blood, for herpes [viral skin infection], 
erysipela [streptococcal skin infection], inflammation, and 
fresh wounds. It is also called polygonaton, cynochalem, 
herculea, asphalton, chiliophullon, clema, polycarpon, 
carcinethron, peuthalida, myrtopetalon, cnopodion, zarithea, or 
pedal ion. The Egyptians call it thephin, some, stemphin, the 
Magi, genitura herois, some, unguis muris, the Romans, 
semi nails, some, stopinaca, and the Africans, chulum. 


547 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


4-5. POLUGONON THELU 

suggested: Polygonum amphibium — Amphibious Persicaria 
Polygonum hydropiper — Persicaria, Water Pepper 

T he female polygon on is a little shrub with one stalk, 
tender, similar to a reed, with continuous joints lying 
on one another like a trumpet, and all around the joints 
there are small leaves similar to those of the pine. The 
root is of no use. It grows in watery places. It is astringent 
and cooling, doing the same things as that above because 
it is not weaker. The Romans call it seminal is. 

4-6. POLUGONATON 

suggested: Polygonatum latifolium [Fuchs], 
Polygonatum multiflorum [in Sprague] — Solomon's Seal 
Polygonatum angustifolium [Fuchs], Convallaria verticillata 
[Linnaeus], Polygonatum verticil latum [in Sprague], 
Polygonatum officinale, Polygonatum vulgare, Polygonatum, 
Convallaria polygonatum, Sigillium sa/omonis 
— Solomon's Seal, Sealwort 

P olygonatum grows on hills, a shrub higher than a foot, 
with leaves similar to laurel but broader and 
smoother, somewhat similar in taste to a quince or 
pomegranate, for it tastes astringent. At every emerging 
of the leaves are white flowers in a larger quantity than 
the leaves, the number to be reckoned from the root. It 
has a white root — soft, long, with many thick joints, 
strongly scented, the thickness of a finger — good 
applied on wounds, and to take away spots on the face. 

4-7a. KLEMATIS 


suggested: Clematis daphnoides [Fuchs, Bauhin], 

Vinca minor [Linnaeus] — Running Myrtle, Periwinkle 

C lematis grows in good soil. It has small vinelike 
branches, as much as the thickness of juncus [4-52, 
1-16], and a little leaf similar to laurel both in shape and 
colour, but much smaller. A decoction of the leaves and 
the stalks of this (taken as a drink with wine) lessen 
excessive discharges of the bowels and dysentery. 


548 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Polygonatum vulgare 
after HEYNS — 1888 


549 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Clematis daphnoides* zoj 
©mjjrun. 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Applied in a pessary with milk and rosaceum [1-53] (or 
cyprinum [1-65]) it cures pains of the womb. Chewed, it 
eases toothache; applied, it helps those bitten by 
venomous creatures. It is said that a decoction (taken as a 
drink with vinegar) helps those bitten by snakes. It grows 
in un tilled ground. It is also called daphnoides, myrsinoides, 
polygonoides, or philetaerium. 

4-7b. KLEMATIS ETERA 

suggested: Clematis cirrhosa — Evergreen Clematis 
Clematis angustifolia — Virgin's Bower 
Clematis alpina — Alpine Clematis 

POISONOUS 

T here is another clematis which sends out a vinelike 
branch, reddish, flexible; the leaf extremely sharp to 
the taste and ulcerating. It winds around trees like smilax 
[4-144, 4-145]. The seed of this (pounded into small pieces 
and taken as a drink with water or honey water) drives 
phlegm and bile downward. The leaves (applied as a 
poultice) drive away leprosy. They are preserved with 
lepidium [2-205] to eat with meat [vegetable]. It is also 
called epigetis, the Egyptians call it phylacuum, and the 
Romans, ambuxus. 


4-8. POLEMONION 


suggested: Polemonium caeruleum — Charity, 

Jacob's Ladder, Greek Valerian 

P olemonia has thin little winged branches, with leaves 
a little bigger than rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98], but longer 
like those of polygonum [4-4, 4-5] or calamint. On the top 
of them is what looks like clusters of berries, in which are 
black seeds. The root is a foot long, whitish, similar to 
Struthium [2-193]. It grows in hilly, rough places.The root 
of this is taken as a drink in wine against venomous 
creatures, and with water for dysentery, painful 
urination, and sciatica. A teaspoonful with vinegar is 
given for the spleen. The root of this is carried around one 
to prevent scorpions striking. They say that those who 
have this shall not be bitten, and though they are touched 


551 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


yet nothing will happen. Chewed, it eases toothaches. It 
is also called philetaeria, while the Cappadocians call it 
chiliodynamis. 

4-9. SUMPHUTON PETRAION 


suggested: Coris monspeliensis, Symphytum petraeum 
— Montpellier Coris 

see 3-174 


S ymphitum Petraeum grows on rocks. It has little 
branches similar to origanum, thin leaves, and little 
heads like thyme. The whole plant is woody and has a 
sweet smell, is sweet to the taste, and causes spittle. It has 
a long, faint purple root almost the thickness of a finger. 
This (boiled with honey and water and taken as a drink) 
gets up vile stuff from the lungs. It is given with water to 
those who spit up blood, and for inflammation in the 
kidneys. Boiled with wine it is taken (as a drink) for 
dysentery, and women's excessive bloody menstrual 
discharges. It is boiled with vinegar and honey for 
convulsions and hernias; and chewed it quenches thirst. 
Used as a poultice it is good for the roughness of a sore 
throat, heals new wounds, and represses vaginal hernias. 
It also joins together broken flesh. 

4-10. SUMPHUTON ALLO 


suggested: Symphytum-magnum, Con soli da maior [Fuchs], 
Symphytum consolida major [Bauhin], 

Symphytum officinale [Linnaeus] — Comfrey, Knitbone 

S ymphyton alterum sends out a stalk two feet high or 
more — light, thick, angular, empty, similar to that of 
sonchus [2-159] — around which comes (from not great 
distances) rough narrow leaves, somewhat long, similar 
to those of bugloss [4-128, 4-23 to 4-27], The stalk has 
some extensions of slender leaves adhering to it, 
stretching along at the corners. From every wing are 
yellowish flowers standing up, and the seed is around 
the stalk like verbascum [4-104], The whole stalk and 
leaves have a somewhat prickly down that causes itching 
if touched. The roots are underneath — to the outward 
appearance black, but within white and slimy — of which 


552 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Polemonium caeruleum 
after FAGUET — 1888 


553 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



Comfrey or Knitbone - 
Symphytum officinale 

after HEYNS — 1888 


554 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


use is made. Pounded into small pieces (and taken in a 
drink) they are good for bloodspitters and hernias. 
Applied, they close up new wounds. Boiled, they join 
pieces of flesh together. They are smeared on for 
inflammations — most usefully for those in the perineum 
— with the leaves of senecio [4-123]. It is also called pecton, 
while the Romans call it soli dago. 

4-11. OLESTION 


suggested: H olosteum umbellatum — Holosteum, Chickweed, 
Jagged Chickweed, Umbellate Stitchwort 

H olostium is a little herb about three or four fingers 
above the ground. It has astringent leaves, and 
tendrils like those of coronopus [2-158] or grass; a very thin 
root, similar to filaments, white to see, the thickness of 
four fingers. It grows on hills. Boiled, this can also join 
pieces of flesh together, and it is given (as a drink with 
wine) for hernias. 


4-12. STOIBE 


suggested: Stobaea pinnata [Loudon] 

— Carthmus-like Stobaea 
Stipa pennata, Stipa barbata — Feather Grass, Stipa 
Stipa tenacissima, M acrochloa tenacissima — Alfa, Esparto 

S toebe is well known. The seed and the leaves are 
astringent, so a decoction of them is given as a 
suppository for dysentery, and it is dropped into 
purulent ears. The leaves are applied to help bloodshot 
eyes caused by a stroke, and they stop excessive bloody 
discharges. It is also called tobion, while the Romans call it 
stupa. 


4-13. KLUMENON 


UNKNOWN 

C lymenon sends out a foursquare stalk similar to that 
of the bean, and leaves similar to those of plantain. It 
has little pods on the stalk (nodding together) similar to 
iris and the curled tufts of the polypus. That on the hills is 


555 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


the best. It is all juiced together with the root. The juice 
(taken as a drink) is good for throwing-up blood, for 
abdominal cavities, and for excessive bloody discharges. 
It is astringent and cooling, and it stops flows of blood 
that come out of the nostrils. The leaves or the pods, 
pounded into small pieces and applied to new wounds, 
bring them effectively to a scar. It is also called 
calycanthemom, periclymenon, helyophthes, hepatitis, smilax, 
anatolicon, dyticon, or merginem ; the Romans call it 
volucrum, or volucrum maius ; the Egyptians call it oxiui, 
clymenon, or clumenion, and they also call it agonon. 

4-14. PERIKLUMEN ON 


suggested: Periclymenus, Caprifolium [Fuchs], Periclymenum, 
Lonicera periclymenum [Linnaeus], M ater silvana, 

Lonicera caprifolium — Common Honeysuckle, Woodbine, 
Perfoliate Honeysuckle, Caprifoly 

P ericlymenon is a single little shrub with small whitish 
leaves circling it at distances similar to QSSUS [2-210], 
and by the leaves' emergence are seeds similar to cissus. 
On top is a white flower similar to the bean, a somewhat 
round hard seed (in a way) lying on the leaf and hard to 
pluck out; the root is thick and round. It grows in fields 
and hedges and winds itself around the neighbouring 
shrubs. The seed of this is gathered when it is ripe and 
dried in the shade. A teaspoonful (taken in a drink for 
forty days) reduces the spleen, dissolves weariness, and 
is good for difficult breathing and the hiccups. After the 
sixth day it makes one urinate blood. It is also birth 
hastening, and the leaves have the same strength. A 
decoction (taken as a drink for thirty seven days) is said to 
make men unfit for generation [birth control]. Rubbed 
(with oil) on those who have fever fits that recur, it drives 
away the shivering. It is also called aegine, clymenon, 
carpathum, splenium, hepatitis, helxine major, clematitis, 
myrsine, or cal yean themon; the Magi call it poliom veneris , 
the Egyptians, turcum, the Romans, volucrum majus, and 
the Africans, I an at h. 


556 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Stipa tenacissima 
after FAGUET — 1894 


557 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


42+ Saxifiagum.feu Empetrum, 
Ul.’av: rautert. 



558 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-15a. TRIBOLOS ENUDROS 


SUGGESTED: Tribulus terrestris — Caltrops, Land Caltrops 
T rapa natans — Water Caltrops 

T ribulus has two types: the land kind has similar 
leaves to portulaca [4-168] yet they are thin. The 
vinelike branches are long, with stiff hard prickles on 
them, and scattered on the ground. It grows near rivers 
and in courtyards of houses. There is another kind found 
in the water — which is also called bucephalus, or 
tauroceros, or by the Romans, tribulus aquaticus — growing 
in rivers, with the hair standing above but hiding the 
prickle. The leaves are broad with a long stem, but the 
stalk is thick at the top rather than in the bottom. On it 
there are also certain hairy abnormal growths similar to 
ears; the fruit is hard like that of the other. They are both 
astringent and cooling, and are poultices for all 
inflammation. With honey they heal thrush [candidiasis], 
the tonsils, and rotten ulcers of the mouth and gums. 
They are juiced for eye medicines. The seed (taken in a 
drink when it is new) helps stones [urinary, kidney]. A 
teaspoonful of the land kind (taken in a drink and 
applied as well) recovers those bitten by vipers. It is good 
against poisons (taken in a drink with wine) and a 
decoction of it (sprinkled) kill s fleas. The Thracians living 
by the river Strymon fatten horses with the green herb, 
but the seed, sweet and nourishing, they take for food, 
using it instead of bread. 



T ribulus terrestris 
after FAGUET — 1874 




4-15b. SAXIPHRAGON 


suggested: Saxifraga, Ruta-muraria [Fuchs], Saxifragum, 
Empetrum [Brunfels], R uta muraria [Bauhin], 

A splenium R uta-muraria [Linnaeus] — Wall Rue 

[other usage] Saxifraga cymbalaria — Saxifrage, Rockfoil 

S axifragum is a shrub (similar to epithymon) growing on 
rocks and in rough places. The herb (boiled with 
wine) is helpful in cases of slow painful urination when 
there is no fever, but it is given with warm water while 
the fever lasts. It also cures stones in the bladder and 


559 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



Staticethouini 
after FAGUET — 1892 


encourages the urine. It is also called saxifrangum, 
empetrum, scolopendrium, or bruchum, while the Romans 
call it saxifraga, or sanaria. 

4-16. LEIMONION 


suggested: Limonium, Pyrola [Fuchs], 

Pyrola rotundifolia major [Bauhin], 

Pyrola rotundifolia [Linnaeus] — Wintergreen 

[other usage] Statice limonium, Limonium vuigare, 
Staticemaritima — Sea Lavender, Wild Marsh Beet 

L imonium has ten or more leaves similar to beet yet 
thinner and smaller, and a thin upright stalk equal 
(as it were) to the lily, full of red seed, astringent to the 
taste. An acetabulum [vinegar cruet] of the seed (pounded 
into small pieces and taken in a drink with wine) is able to 
help dysentery and abdominal cavities, and stop 
women's excessive bloody menstrual discharges. It grows 
in fields. It is also called neuroides, potamogeton, lonchitis, or 
rapronium; the Mysians call it mendruta, the Syrians, 
meuda, also, lycosemphyllon, helleborosemata, or scyllion; the 
Magi call it cor lupi , the Romans, veratrum nigrum, some, 
tintinabulum terrae, the Gauls, iumbarum, and the Dacians, 
dacina. 


4-17. LAGOPOUS 


suggested: Lagopus, Leporinus pes, Trifolium humile [Fuchs], 

T rifolium arvense [Linnaeus] — Field Clover, Hare's Foot 

[other usage] Filago lagopus — Cotton Rose, Hare's Foot 

L agopus is restrictive to the intestines if a decoction is 
taken as a drink with wine (but for those with a fever 
with water). It is also hanged about one for inflammation 
of the groin. It grows in the ranks of corn. It is also called 
cuminum leporis. 


560 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Limonfum* iff 

Wmtevgmn* 



561 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


26 ^. 


Lycopfi's. 
.frlfdfc 43unt>g $tmg. 



562 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-18. MEDION 


suggested: Campanula medium — Canterbury Bells, 
Mercury's Violet 

Campanula cichoracea — Headed Bell Flower 
M edium alpinum, Campanula laciniata — Bell Flower, Harebell 

M edium grows in shady rocky places. It has leaves 
similar to ser/'s [2-160], a great stalk of three feet, 
round purple-coloured flowers, and small seed similar to 
cnicus [4-119, 4-190]. The root is twenty centimetres long, 
the thickness of a staff, bitter to the taste. Pounded into 
small pieces when it is dry and licked in with honey that 
has been boiled for several days, it stops excessive bloody 
discharges. A decoction of the seed (taken as a drink with 
wine) draws out the menstrual flow. It is also called 
medica, trifolium, clemation, osmos, trigonos , cybellium, or 
polyphyllon; the Romans call it tri folium odoratum, and the 
Egyptians, epaphou. 


4-19. EPIMEDION 

SUGGESTED: Epimedium alpinum — Barrenwort, Bishop's Hat 

E pi medium has a stalk that is not great, with about ten 
or twelve leaves similar to QSSUS, (but it bears neither 
seed nor flowers); the roots are thin, black, strongly- 
scented and unsavoury to the taste. It grows in watery 
places. The leaves (pounded into small pieces with oil) 
make a poultice for the breasts so that they do not swell. 
The root causes barrenness. Three teaspoonfuls of the 
leaves pounded into small pieces, and taken as a drink in 
wine for three days after the menstrual flow purgation, 
keeps women from conception [birth control]. It is also 
called erineos, thrias, or potyrrhizon, while the Romans call 
it vin dicta. 


4-20. XIPHION 


SUGGESTED: Gladiolus illyricus — Gladiole, Sword Lily 
Gladiolus communis, Gladiolus byzantinus — Sword Lily 

X iphion is called phasganon because the shape of the 
leaf is similar to that of iris, yet smaller, narrower. 


563 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



— 
Sparganium ramosum 
(female inflorescence) 

after FAGUET — 1894 


pointed like a little sword, and fibrous. It sends forth a 
stalk a foot long, on which are purple flowers distant 
from one another by steps, round seed, and two roots — 
one of them resting on the other — similar to little 
scallions. That which lies underneath is slender but that 
above, fuller. It grows (especially) in fields. The root that 
is on top (applied with wine and frankincense) is able to 
draw out prickles and splinters, and (with meal of lolium 
[2-116, 4-140] and honey water) to dissolve the pannus 
[opaque thickening of cornea with veins]. It is mixed with 
similar plasters, and used for a pessary it draws out the 
menstrual flow. They say that a decoction of the upper 
root (taken as a drink with wine) encourages sexual 
intercourse [aphrodisiac]; but that the lowest make them 
without lust [anaphrodisiac], and that the upper root is 
effective given to children that are broken [? foreskin or 
hymen] in a liquid medicine with water. It is also called 
machaeronion, anactorion, or arion; the Romans call it 
gladiolus, and some, genitalis. 

4-21. SPARG ANION 

suggested: Sparganium simplex — Reed Grass, Bur Reed 
Sparganium erectum, Sparganium ramosum 
— Branched Bur Reed 

S parganium has leaves similar to a little sword but 
narrower and bending downward more, and on the 
top of the stalk are little balls in which is the seed. The 
root and seed are given with wine to those bitten by 
venomous creatures. It is also called xiphidion, or bolon. 

4-22. XURIS 

suggested: Xyris indica, Xyris con gen sis, Xyris capensis 

— Xyris 

X yris has leaves similar to iris but broader and sharp at 
the top, with a stalk breaking out of the middle of the 
leaves — thick enough, one-foot long — on which are 
triangular pods. On them is a purple flower, and in the 
middle it is a Phoenician colour [red]. The seed (in little 
cases) is similar to beans — round, red and sharp. The 
long red root has many joints, and is good for wounds in 


564 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Campanula media 
after FAGUET — 1888 


565 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



566 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


the head and fractures; and mixed with one third part 
flour of brass [zinc oxide], a fifth part of the root of 
centaury and sufficient honey, it extracts prickles and all 
sorts of weapons without pain. Applied with vinegar it 
cures oedema and inflammation. The root (bruised with 
passu m [raisin wine]) is taken as a drink for convulsion, 
hernia, sciatica, slow painful urination, and intestinal 
discharges. Thirty grains of a decoction of the seed (taken 
as a drink in wine) is most uretical. If a decoction is taken 
as a drink with vinegar, it also reduces the spleen. It is 
also called iris agria, or cactos, the Romans call it gladiolus, 
some call it iris agrestis, while the Dacians call it aprus. 

4-23. ANCHOUSA 

suggested: Anchusa aggregata — Cluster-flowered Bugloss 
Anchusa azurea, Anchusa italica, Anchusa paniculata, 
Buglossum officinale — Italian Alkanet, Sea Bugloss 
Alkanna tinctori a, Anchusa tinctoria, Lithospermum tinctorium 
— Alkanet, Dyer's Bugloss or Spanish Bugloss 

see 4-24, 4-119, 4-128 

A nchusa has many prickly leaves (similar to the sharp- 
leaved lettuce) — rough, sharp and black — on 
every side of the root joining to the earth. The root is the 
thickness of a finger, and the colour almost of blood. In 
the summer it becomes astringent, dyeing the hands. It 
grows in good grounds. The root has an astringent 
nature: good (boiled in wax and oil) for burns and old 
ulcers. Applied with polenta it cures erysipela 
[streptococcal skin infection], vitiligines [form of leprosy]; 
and smeared on with vinegar it cures leprosy. Given as a 
pessary it is an abortifacient. A decoction of it is given for 
jaundice and inflamed kidneys, and it is given to the 
splenetic (if they have a fever) with honey and water. A 
decoction of the leaves (taken as a drink with wine) stops 
discharges of the bowels. The ointment makers use the 
root for thickening ointments. It is also called calyx, 
onoclea, catanchusa, lybica, archibellion, onophyllon, 
porphyris, mydusa, salyx, or nonea, while the Africans call it 
buinesath. 



567 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


4-24. ANCHOUSA ETERA 


SUGGESTED: see 4-23, 4-128 


A nchusa altera differs from the above in having smaller 
leaves yet equally sharp. There are thin little 
branches, with flowers of a purple colour drawing 
towards a Phoenician [red]. The roots are red and very 
long. Around harvest time they have something similar 
to blood in them. It grows in sandy places. The root and 
leaves are able to help those bitten by venomous 
creatures — especially the viper-bitten — eaten, taken as 
a drink, or hanged about one. Chewed and spat out into 
the mouth of a venomous beast, it will kill him. It is also 
called alcibiadian, or onocheiles. 

4-25. ANCHOUSA ETERA 


SUGGESTED: see 4-128 

T here is also another similar to the above, but with a 
smaller seed of a Phoenician [red] colour. Chewed 
and spat out into the mouth of a snake, it will kill him. An 
acetabulum [vinegar cruet] of a decoction the root (taken 
as a drink with hyssop [3-30] and nasturtium [2-185]) 
draws out broadworms. 

4-26. LUKOPSIS 

suggested: Lycopsis arvensis, A nchusa arvensis 

— Field Bugloss see 4-27 

L ycopsis has leaves similar to lettuce — but longer, 
thicker, sharp and broader — lying down around the 
head of the root. It sends out a long, straight, rough stalk 
with many prickly shoots a foot long, and on them little 
flowers, almost a purple. The root is red and astringent. It 
grows in level fields. The root (applied with oil) heals 
wounds, and with polenta it heals erysipela [streptococcal 
skin infection]. Pounded into small pieces and rubbed on 
with oil it reduces sweating. This is also called anchusa. 


568 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


i$o Echium Italics fpmofimn 

<Qtffen$ung. 



569 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



570 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-27. ECHION 


suggested: Echion , Buglossum sylvestre, 

Echium germanicum spinosum [Fuchs], 

Buglossum sylvestre minus [Bauhin], Lycopsis arvensis 
[Linnaeus] — Anchusa, Bugloss 

[other usage] Echium plantagineum — Purple Viper's Bugloss 

E chion has long, sharp, somewhat thin leaves similar to 
those of anchusa [4-23 to 4-26], but smaller and fat, 
with thin little prickles lying on them, similar to those 
which make leaves rough. There are many thin little 
stalks, and on either side thin little black leaves spread 
abroad (similar to wings), smaller as they grow nearer to 
the top of the stalk. The flowers by the leaves are a purple 
colour, in which is the seed, similar to the head of a viper. 
The root is thinner than a finger, somewhat black, a 
decoction of which (taken as a drink with wine) not only 
helps those already bitten by snakes, but also makes 
those who drink it beforehand unbitten. Both the leaves 
and the seed are of similar use. Taken with wine or some 
other sipping it lessens the pain of the loins [digestive or 
procreative]. It is also called aridan, or alcibiadion, while 
the Romans call it al ci bi acu m [hal i cacabu m — a bad poison] . 

4-28. OKIMOEIDES 


suggested: 0 cimastrum, A cinos, 0 cimum sylvestre [Fuchs], 
Clinopodium arvenseOcimi facie [Bauhin], Thymos acinos 
[Linnaeus], Satureja acinos [in Sprague], 0 cimum pilosum, 
A cinos vulgaris — Acinos 

see 3-50, 3-109, 4-28, 4-176 


O cimoides has leaves similar to basil, and rough 
branches twenty centimetres long, with pods 
similar to hyoscyamus [4-69] full of black seed similar to 
melanthium [3-93]. A decoction of the seed (taken as a 
drink in wine) is able to cure the viper -bitten and the bites 
of other snakes. It is also given with myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 
4-116] and pepper for sciatica. The root that lies 
underneath is thin and useless. It is also called 
philetaerium, echion , scorpiuron, sparganon, althaea , 


571 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


amaranthis, probataea, elaphion, antimimon, porphyris, 
augion, nemesion, hyaenopsolon, thersites, thermutis, or 
misopathos, while the Romans call it ocimastrum. 


4-29. ERINOS 



Agrostis interrupts 
after FAGUET — 1894 


suggested: Erinus hispanicus, Erinus alpinus [Bedevian] 

— Erinus, Liver Balsam 

E rinus grows by rivers and fountains and has leaves 
similar to those of basil yet smaller and jagged at the 
upper parts; with five or six little branches twenty 
centimeters long, white flowers, and a little black seed 
with an unpleasant taste. The stalk is full of liquid and so 
are the leaves. Two teaspoonfuls of the seed (mixed with 
four of honey and smeared on) stop discharges of the 
eyes; and the juice soothes earache (dropped in the ears 
with sulphur that never felt the fire and saltpetre 
[potassium nitrate]). It is also called ocimoides, or hydrero, 
while the Romans call it basil. 

4-30. AGROSTIS 


suggested: Gramen [Fuchs], Stellaria holostea [Linnaeus], 
Caryophyllus arvensis glaber floremajore [Bauhin], 

— Greater Stitchwort [Mabberley] 

[other usage] A grostis alba, A grostis palustris 
— White Bent Grass, Fiorin Grass 

A grostis has little branches full of joints creeping on 
the earth and growing out from the stalks; sweet, 
knotty roots, the sharp leaves hard and broad like a little 
reed, nourishing for cows and labouring cattle. The root 
of this (pounded into small pieces) is applied to heal 
wounds. A decoction of it (taken as a drink) is good for 
griping, painful urination, and ulcers around the 
bladder, and it breaks urinary stones. It is also called 
aegicon, or amaxitist ; the Egyptians say anuphi, the 
Romans, gramen, some say assefolium, sanguinalis, or 
uniola, the Spaniards, aparia, the Dacians, cotiata, and the 
Africans, jebal. 


572 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


74 Gram in is genus, 

tPeig 



573 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


44 - 4 * Stacfiys* 

&iec$eitbci; 



574 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-31. KALAMAGROSTIS 


suggested: Calamagrostis arenaria — Sea Sand Reed 
Phragmites australis, Phragmites communis — Common Reed 

R eed grass is bigger in every respect than gramen, but 
eaten, it is a killer of labouring beasts (especially that 
which grows in Babylon by the wayside). 

4-32. AGROSTIS EN PARNASSO 


suggested: Parnassia palustris — Grass of Parnassus 

T he grass that grows on Parnassus is more full of 
stems. It bears leaves similar to CISSUS [2-210], a white 
flower, and has a sweet scent, a small seed, and five or six 
effective roots of a finger's thickness — white, soft, 
strong. The juice of this (boiled with wine, as much 
honey, an half part of myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116], pepper, 
and a third part of frankincense) is an excellent medicine 
for the eyes. It is stored in a brass box. A decoction of the 
roots is good for the same disorders. The seed is strongly 
diuretic, and stops vomits and flowing bowels. That 
which grows in Cilicia (which the inhabitants call cinna) 
inflames rude beasts if often fed on when it is moist. 

4-33. SIDERITIS 


suggested: Sideritis-prima [Fuchs], 

Sideritis vulgaris hirsuta erecta [Bauhin], 

Betonica annua var hirsuta, Stachys recta [Linnaeus], 
Stachys procumbens, Stachys sideritis — Mountain Woundwort 

S ideritis is a herb with leaves similar to marrubium [3-38] 
but longer, similar to those of sage or oak, yet smaller 
and sharp. It sends out foursquare stalks twenty 
centimetres long or rather more — not unpleasant to the 
taste, and somewhat gently astringent — on which are 
round whorls at distances apart (similar to marrubium), 
and in them is black seed. It grows in places under rocks. 
The leaves (applied) are able to close open cuts and sore 
wounds, and reduce inflammation. It is also called 
Heraclea, the Magi call it genitura, some say the blood of 
Titan, or the tail of a scorpion; Pythagoras says par mi r on, 


575 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Acreas, xanthophanes; Osthenes says buphthalmum, the 
Egyptians, send ion or, the Romans, vertumnus, some, 
solaster, and the Africans, asterchillos. 


4-34. SIDERITIS ETERA 


SUGGESTED: Stachys arvensis [Mabberley] — Stagger-weed 

T he other sideritis has slender branches of two feet, 
and leaves on long stems (similar to those of fern) 
with many in-cuts towards the top on either side, and 
from the upper wings long thin shoots with a rough head 
on the top, round like a sphere, in which is the seed — 
similar to beet but rounder and harder. This (with the 
leaves) is good for wounds. 


4-35. SIDERITIS TRITE 


suggested: Stachys sylvatica — Hedge Woundwort 

T here is said to be yet another sideritis (which Crateuas 
calls heradea ) growing in walls and vineyards, with 
many leaves from one root, similar to coriander, smooth 
tender little stalks about twenty centimetres long, 
somewhat white and ruddy; the little flowers of a 
Phoenician [red] colour, bitter to the taste, clammy — and 
the strength of this (applied) is that it congeals bleeding 
and new wounds. 


4-36. ACHILLEIOS 


suggested: A chillea ageratum — Milfoil, Sweet Maudlin 
A chillea atrata — Black Milfoil 
Achillea fragrantissima, Santolina fragrantissima 
— Lavender Cotton 



chillea is also called achillea sideritis. It bears small 


L JLrods a hand's width long (or rather more) in the 
shape of spindles, and about them thin little leaves 
having frequent in-cuts across like coriander — 
somewhat red, clammy, smelling considerably, not 
unpleasant but having a medicinal smell. There is a 
round tuft on the top; the flowers white, resembling gold. 
It grows in fertile places. The fibres of this (pounded) 


576 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Rub us* 8 5 

B:ombeci% 



577 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


144. Heixme Ciflampelos* 

iTlttteltmfc, 



578 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


congeals bloody wounds, reduces inflammation, and 
stops bleeding, as also of that of the womb (in a pessary); 
and a decoction of this is a douche for the excessive 
menstrual flows of women. It is also drunk for dysentery. 
Some call it myriomorphon, chiliophyllon, stratioticon, or 
Heracleon, the Romans, supercilium veneris; some call it 
acorus sytvaticus, militaris, or millefolium , and the Africans 
call it asterchillos. 


4-37. BATOS 


suggested: Rubus [Fuchs], R ubus vulgaris, 

Rubus fructu nigro [Bauhin], R ubus fructiosus [Linnaeus], 
R ubus plicatus — Blackberry, Common Bramble 


B atus (with which we are familiar) binds and dries, 
and it dyes the hair. A decoction of the tops of it (as a 
drink) stops the flows of the intestines, restrains the 
excessive menstrual flows of women, and is convenient 
for the bites of the pr ester [mythological snake]. The 
leaves are chewed to strengthen the gums and heal apthae 
[aptylia — absence of saliva]. The leaves (applied) 
restrain herpes [viral skin infection], heal running ulcers 
on the head, drooping eyes, venereal warts, and 
haemorrhoids. Pounded into small pieces and applied, 
they are available for gastritis and heart conditions. The 
juice from the bruised stalks and leaves stirred in the sun 
does better for all the purposes previously mentioned. 
The juice of the thoroughly ripe fruit is good put into oral 
medicines. Eaten when it is half-ripe, it also stops 
discharges of the intestines. The flowers of it (as a drink 
with wine) also stop the bowels. It is also called cyn osbatos, 
selinorition, or asyntrophon. The Magi say sanguis Titani , 
some, sanguis ibis, the Romans, sentis, some, rubus, or mora 
Vatican a, the Dacians, mantia, the Egyptians, haemceos, and 
some, ametros. 


4-38. BATOS IDAIA 

SUGGESTED: R ubus idaeus — Red Raspberry 

I t is called rubus idaeus because it grows abundantly in 
Ida — but it is much more tender than that above, with 
little prickles, and it is also found without prickles. It does 



579 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


the same things as that mentioned above, and 
furthermore the flower (pounded into small pieces with 
honey and rubbed on) helps eye inflammation, and 
extinguishes erysipda [streptococcal skin infection]. It is 
given in a drink with water for gastritis. 

4-39. ELXINE KUSSAMPELOS 


suggested: H elxine-cissampelos, Convolvulus, 
Volubilis media [Fuchs], Convolvulus minor arvensis [Bauhin], 
Convolvulus arvensis [Linnaeus] — Common Bindweed 




Elatinepaludosa 
after FAGUET — 1888 


H elxine has leaves similar to c'lSSUS but smaller, with 
long little branches clasping around wherever it 
occurs. It grows in hedges, vineyards and corn. The juice 
of the leaves (taken as a drink) has a laxative effect on the 
bowels. It is also called ef/t/'s, canochersaea, amelxine , eusine, 
amorgine, sucotachos , psychuacos, melampelon, cissampelon , 
cissamethon, or analetamenon, the Romans call it volutum 
laparou, and the Egyptians, hapap. 

4-40. ELATINE 

suggested: Antirrhinum elatine, Linaria elatine, 

Cymbal aria elatine — Elatine, Cancerwort, 
Pointed-leaved Toadflax 

Elatine hydropiper — Water Pepper, Waterwort, Pipewort 

E latine has leaves similar to helxine [above] but smaller, 
rounder, and hairy. The five or six branches are thin, 
twenty centimetres long from the root, full of leaves that 
are sharp to the taste. It grows among corn and in tilled 
places. The leaves (applied with polenta) are able to help 
inflamed rheumatic eyes. Boiled and sipped it stops 
dysentery. 


580 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Parnassia palustris 
after FAGUET — 1894 


581 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Qtnncjuefolut Hiatus Candida, 3 >7 
©;of$ voci$ fittgcrfraut* 



582 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-41. EUPATORION 

suggested: E upatorium, Agrimonia [Fuchs], 
Eupatorium veterum [Bauhin], Agrimonia eupatori a [Linnaeus] 
— Agrimony, Cocklebur, Liverwort, Sticklewort 
[other usage] Eupatorium syriacum — Syrian Eupatorium 
Eupatorium cannabinum — Hemp Agrimony 

E upatorium is an herb like a shrub placing out one stem 
— thin, woody, straight, black and rough — half a 
metre long or rather more, and the leaves jagged (at 
distances) most commonly into five parts (or rather more, 
similar to those of quinquefolium or even cannabis), and 
those inclining to black, cut-in on the edges like a saw. 
The seed grows all around from the middle of the stalk, 
somewhat rough, bending downward so that dried it 
sticks to clothes. The leaves of this (pounded fine and 
applied with old swines' grease) heal difficult scars on 
ulcers. The seed and herb (taken as a drink with wine) 
help dysentery and serpent bites. Some were deceived 
and called this artemisia, for it is diverse (as we have 
shown). It is also called hepatorium, or hepatitis, while the 
Romans call it volucrum maius. 

4-42. PENTAPHULLON 


suggested: Quinquefolium maius candidum [Fuchs], 
Quinquefolium album majus aiterum [Bauhin], Potentiiia alba 
[Linnaeus] — Tormentil [Mabberley] 

[other usage] Pentafillo [Italian], Potentiiia pimpinelloides, 
Potentiiia opaca, Potentiiia hirta — Five Fingers Grass, 

Five Leaf, Cinquefoil 

P entaphyllum has thin branches like festuca [fescue 
grass] twenty centimetres long, on which is the seed. 
It has leaves similar to mint, five on every stem but rarely 
anywhere more, cut-in all around like a saw. The flower 
is pale, white, or yellowish like gold. It grows in moist 
places and by rivers; and it has a somewhat long reddish 
root (thicker than black hellebore) that is of considerable 
use. A decoction of the root reduced one third by 
simmering (held in the mouth) is able to relieve 
toothache. Used as a mouthwash it stops rotten ulcers in 
the mouth; gargled, it relieves roughness of the throat; 



Agrimonia eupatori a 
after FAGUET — 1888 



Potentiiia congesta 
after FAGUET — 1888 


583 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


and taken as a drink it helps flowing bowels, dysentery, 
arthritis, and sciatica. Pounded finely, boiled in vinegar 
and applied, it restrains herpes [viral skin disease], and 
dissolves swellings, goitres, hardened places, oedema, 
aneurisms, suppurations, erysipela [skin inflammation], 
and conjunctivitis, and it heals skin lesions and psoriasis. 
The juice from the tender root is good for disorders in the 
liver and the lungs, and for deadly poisons. The leaves 
are taken in a drink with honey water or diluted wine 
and a little pepper for recurrent fevers; the leaves of four 
little branches for a paroxysm every fourth day, three for 
a paroxysm every third day, and one for a paroxysm 
every day. They help epilepsy (taken as a drink for thirty 
days), and three glasses of the juice of the leaves (taken as 
a drink for some days) soon cures jaundice. Applied with 
salt and honey they heal wounds and fistulas. Taken as a 
drink (or else applied) it helps those who are broken 
[foreskin or hymen], and stops flows of blood. It is cut for 
washing, discharges of blood, and purification. 

(If anyone carries pentadactylon [ cinquefoil ] around his 
body he remains without suffering. It helps the eyes, 
tumours [possibly goitre], hardened tonsils, the uvula, 
sores under the tongue, the joints, disorders of the 
nerves, the teeth, and scabies [itchy parasitical disease] 
caused by a pernicious famine, as well as drawing down 
the afterbirth. A decoction (poured on the hands) is 
excellent against fears and enchantments, therefore 
gather the herb when the moon increases at the time of 
the sun arising.) It is also called pentapetes, pentatomon, 
pentadactylon, pseudoselinon, callipetalon, xyloloton, 
xylopetalon, asphalton, pentacoenon, or thymiatitis ; the 
Egyptians call it orphitebeoce, some, enotron, the Magi, 
unguis ibis, some, ala ibis, or hermodactylon, the Romans, 
quinquefolium, the Gauls pempedula, and the Dacians, 
propedula. 


4-43. PHOINIX 


suggested: H ordeum murinum - Wall Barley 

P hoenix has leaves similar to barley only shorter and 
narrower, with an ear [of seed] similar to lolium 
[2-116, 4-140]; branches around the root six fingers in 
length, and the ears seven or eight. It grows in fields and 


584 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


I84. 


Eqiiifetum* 

J\off3fc^tran5, 


E quisetum 

after FUCHS — 1545 



585 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



586 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


on newly-mortared roofs. A decoction (taken as a drink in 
hard wine) it is able to stop discharges of the intestines, 
the excessive discharges of blood from the womb, and 
excessive urine. Some say that it is a blood-stauncher, 
bound in red wool and hanged about one. It is also called 
rhus, anchinops, phoeni copter on, rhus stachyos, or ostheles. 
The Romans say patotucupinum, the Egyptians, athnon. 

4-44. IDAIA RHIZA 


UNKNOWN — this means root from Ida 


I daea radix has similar leaves to oxymyrsine near which 
there grows out (as it were) little tendrils and flowers. 
The root of this is especially astringent serving as such for 
those for whom there is need. It is taken in a drink for 
discharges of the intestines and women's excessive 
menstrual discharges. It stops all discharges of blood. 

4-45. RHODIA RADIX 


suggested: Rhodia-radix [Fuchs], Radix rhodia [Bauhin], 
Rhodiola rosea [Linnaeus], Sedum rhodiola [in Sprague], 
Sedum roseum — Roseroot, Rosy-flowered Stonecrop 

R hodia radix grows in Macedonia, similar to COStus 
[1-15] but lighter and uneven, making a scent when 
bruised similar to that of roses. It is useful for those 
aggrieved with headaches, bruised and applied with a 
little rosaceum [1-53] and applied moist to the forehead 
and temples. It is also called rhodida. 

4-46. IPPOURIS 

suggested: Equisetum minus, Equisetum brevius [Fuchs], 

H ippuris, Equisetum arvense [Linnaeus], Cauda equina 
— False Horsetail, Horsepipe, Bottlebrush, 

Meadow Horsetail 

[other usage] H ippuris vulgaris — Mare's Tail, Bottlebrush, 
Witches' M ilk 

H ippuris grows in moist places and ditches. It has 
empty little reddish stalks distinguished by joints 
growing one into another, and around them many thin 


587 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



rushy leaves. It grows to a height climbing on the trunks 
of trees standing nearby, and hangs on them. It is 
surrounded with many black filaments similar to the tail 
of a horse. The root is woody and hard, and the herb is 
astringent. The juice of it stops discharges of blood from 
the nostrils. A decoction (taken as a drink with wine) 
helps dysentery and induces urine. Pounded into small 
pieces (and sprinkled on) it closes bleeding wounds. Both 
the root and herb help coughs and asthma. It is said also 
that a decoction of the leaves (taken as a drink in water) 
joins openings of the intestines, and any cutting-apart of 
the bladder, and hernia. It is also called trimdchion, 
anabasis, cheredranon, phaedra, itiandendron, gis, or 
schoniostrophon , while the Egyptians say pherphram, the 
Magi, cibusSaturni, the Romans, equinalis, and some, salix 
equinalis, anabasion, or ephudron. 

4-47. IPPOURIS ETERA 


suggested: Equisetum longius, H ippuris, Polygonum foemina 
[Fuchs], Equis&um palustre [Linnaeus] — Meadow Horsetail 
[other usage] E quisetum hyemale , E quisetum scirpoides 
— Common Scouring Bush 


H ippuris alterum has a stalk that is straight, even 
higher than a foot (as it were) empty, with shorter, 
whiter, softer filaments at distances. Mixed with vinegar 
it heals wounds, having the same strength as that above. 
It is also called equitium, chedra, or gyon, while the Romans 
say salix equinalis. 


4-48. KOKKOS BAPHIKE 


suggested: Cocculus officinale, Cocculus plukenetii [Loudon] 

— Cocculus — twining shrub 

A namirta cocculus , A namirta paniculata 
— Cocculus Indicus Plant 

Quercus cocci fer a — Kermes Oak — little coccus insect is found on it 
Coccus means berries as well as being the name of the dyer's insect. 

C OCCum ti n Cti I e is a little shrub full of sprigs, to which 
cling grains like lentils which are taken out and 
stored. The best is from Galatia and Armenia, then that 
from Asia and that from Cilicia, and last of all that from 


588 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



589 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



590 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Spain. Pounded into small pieces and applied with 
vinegar it is astringent, and good for wounds and lost 
strength. That in Cilicia grows on oaks [with grains] 
similar in shape to a little snail, which the women there 
gather by mouth, and call them coccum. 

4-49. TRAGION 


suggested: Chenopodium vulvaria, Tragium germanicum 
— Stinking Motherwort 

T ragium grows only in Crete. It has leaves, stems and 
seed similar to lentiscus [1-90] but all smaller. It has a 
liquid similar to gum. The leaves, seed and fluid (applied 
with wine) draw out arrowheads, splinters, and all things 
fastened within. A decoction (taken as a drink) cures slow 
painful urination, breaks stones in the bladder, and 
induces the menstrual flow. A teaspoonful is taken. They 
say that wild goats that have been shot feed on this herb 
and put out the arrows. 

4-50. TRAGION ALLO 


suggested: H erba a cent gouts [French], A rtemisia vulgaris 
— Motherwort, Mugwort 

T ragium alter urn has leaves similar to scolopendrium 
[3-121], and a thin white root similar to wild raphanus, 
which is eaten (raw or boiled) to help dysentery. In the 
autumn the leaves put out the scent of a goat. As a result it 
is called tragium. It grows in steep hilly places. It is also 
called tragos, tragoceros, scorpion, or garganon, while the 
Romans say cornulaca , some, bituensa, the Dacians, salia, 
the Egyptians, sober, and the Africans, achiosm. 

4-51. TRAGOS 


suggested: Tragus berteronianus — Carrot Seed Grass 

see 2-115 


T ragus grows particularly near the sea. It is a little 
shrub, on the ground, somewhat long, not large, 
about twenty centimetres tall or more. It has no leaves. 


591 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


but on the branches there hang (as it were) many little red 
kernels about the size of wheat, sharp on the top, 
especially astringent to the taste. Ten kernels of the seed 
of this (taken as a drink with wine) help the abdomen and 
women having their discharges [menstrual flow]. Some 
also beat it and make it into tablets for storage to use later. 
It is also called scorpion, or traganos. 

4-52. SCHOINOS 

suggested: Schoenus incanus — Bog Rush 
Schoenus ferrugineous — Rusty Bog Rush 
Shoenus mucronatus — Clustered Bog Rush 
J uncus conglomeratusj uncus effusus — Rushes, Sweet Rushes 
J uncus arabicus — Rush, Sea Rush 
J uncus acutus — Sharp Rush, Dutch Rush 

see 1-16 


T wo types of shoenus are found, the one of which is 
called the smooth juncus, the other the sharp juncus, 
pointed on the top, and of this again there are two types 
for one is barren, and the other has a round, black seed — 
but the reeds of this are thicker and more fleshy. There is 
a third type — much more fleshy and rougher than the 
first two — which is called holoschoenos, and this also has 
seed on the top similar to that before it. The seed of any of 
them (dried and taken in a drink with diluted wine) stops 
discharges of the intestines, and excessive bloody 
discharges, and induces urine. It is also good for 
headaches, and the tender leaves near the root (applied) 
are good for harvest spider bites. The Ethiopian juncus 
has seed that will cause sleep. We must beware of too 
much of it in liquid medicines for it encourages sleep 
excessively. It is also called juncus laevis, oxypternos, or 
supercilium solis, while the Romans say juncus marinus, 
some, juncus manual is, and the Africans, chudua. 


592 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Sedum acre 

after FAGUET — 1874 


593 




BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Chryfnntliermifn fimplcx. 507 
0ii0cfiilltc 0ct>maU3bluin. 



594 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-53. LEICHEN 


suggested: Lichen, H epatica [Fuchs], Lichen petraeus latifolius, 
Hepatica fontana [Bauhin], M archantia polymorpha [Linnaeus] 
[other usage] Lecanora esculenta — Manna Lichen 
A lectori a jubata — Rock Hair Moss, Horse-hair Lichen 
Parmelia saxatilis — Lichen 


L ichen grows on rocks and is also called bryon. It is a 
moss sticking to moist rocks. This is applied to stop 
discharges of blood, lessen inflammation, and heal lichen 
[papular skin disease], and applied with honey it helps 
jaundice. It also helps the fluids of the mouth and tongue 
[saliva]. 


4-54. PARONUCHIA 


suggested: Paronychia serpyllifolia 
— Thyme-leaved Nailwort 

P aronychia grows among rocks. It is a small shrub 
similar to peplus — less in length but larger in the 
leaves. It is applied (bruised) to all, to heal whitlows and 
favus [contagious honeycombed skin disease]. It is also 
called adocetos, neuras, or phrynion, while the Romans call 
it unguinaiis. 



Paronychia serpyllifola 
after FAGUET — 1888 


4-55. CHRUSOKOME 


SUGGESTED: Chrysocoma [Bedevian] — Goldylocks 
also: Chrysocoma linosyris, Chrysocoma villosa 

C hrysocome is a small shrub twenty centimetres long 
with filaments like corymbi [flattened inflorescences] 
resembling hyssop [3-30]; a slender thick root like black 
hellebore — not unpleasant to the taste, equal to Cyprus 
[1-124], somewhat sour in its sweetness. It grows in 
shady, rocky places. The root is warming and binding — 
of suitable use for the liver and pneumonia. It is taken 
(boiled with honey water) for cleansing the womb. It is 
also called chysitis, chrysanthemon, amarantum, or the 
beard of Jupiter, while the Romans say lovis barba, the 
Africans, dubath, and some, burchumath. 


595 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


4-56. CHRUSOGONON 


suggested: Bongardia chrysogonum — Golden Rod 

C hrysogonum has leaves similar to the oak, but the 
shrub is thick, and has flowers similar to verbascum 
coronarium [4-104]; a root similar to rape [coleseed], 
strongly red within but with the exterior black. Pounded 
finely with vinegar and applied, it helps the bites of the 
shrewmouse. 


4-57. ELICHRUSON 


suggested: A marantus luteus, Stichas citrina, 
Helichryson [Fuchs], Gnaphalium arenarium [Linnaeus], 
Helichrysum arenarium [in Sprague], H elichrysum chinophylum, 
H elichrysum arenarium — Helichrysum, Cudweed, 
Eternal Flower, Golden Sunflower 

H elichrysum (with which they crown their statues) 
has a little stem — white, green, straight and strong 
— and narrow leaves (similar to those of abrotanum ) set 
apart at distances, the filaments circular, shining like 
gold; a round tuft, (as it were) dry bunches of berries, and 
a thin root. It grows in rough places near running water. 
A decoction of the filaments (taken as a drink with wine) 
helps painful urination, the bites of snakes, sciatica, and 
hernia. A decoction (taken as a drink with must [pulp 
from grapes]) induces the menstrual flow, and dissolves 
clots of blood in the bladder or bowels. Thirty grains in a 
dilution of white wine (given to one fasting) stops 
dripping fluids. It is stored together with clothes, 
protecting them from moths. It is also called 
chrysanthemon, while some call it amarantum. 


596 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


294- Papauer erratfcumaltcrum. 

043 aiitu-r c^cfdjlcdjr bcr BUppcnofen. 



597 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Papauer crratinim primum. 395 
Qze crjt gcfrijled)*: bet: ^fcppmofert. 



598 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-58. CHRUSANTHEMON 


suggested: Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum simplex [Fuchs], 
Ranunculus pratensis erectus dulcis [Bauhin ], Ranunculus repens 
[Linnaeus] — Creeping Buttercup [Mabberley] 

[other usage] Chrysanthemum seg&um — Corn Marigold, 
Corn Chrysanthemum 

Chrysanthemum coronarium — Garden Chrysanthemum, 
Crown Marigold, Crown Daisy 

C hrysanthemon is a tender shrubby herb, bringing out 
smooth stalks, very jagged leaves all around, and 
yellowish flowers strongly shining with an eye (which is 
why it is called this). It grows in towns, and the stalks are 
eaten as vegetables. The flowers (pounded into small 
pieces with wax ointment) are said to dissolve steatomata 
[encysted fatty tumour]. It gives the jaundiced a good 
colour in good time given to drink after they have spent a 
long time in the baths. (Chrysanthemon you take out of the 
earth before the rising of the sun. They are astringent to 
the body, and are hung around the neck, being good for 
averting women witches and all enchantments.) It is also 
called bupthalmum, calchas, chalcitis, chalcanthum, or 
chalcanthemon, the Romans say acantha, the Thuscans, 
garuleum, and the Africans, churzeta. 


4-59. AGERATON 


suggested: A chillea ageratum — Sweet Maudlin, Milfoil 
A geratum conyzoides — Floss Flowers, Goat Weed, 
Bastard Agrimony, Celestine 



geratum is a low shrub twenty centimetres long, full 


L JLof single sprigs, similar (especially) to origanum; 
with a tuft on which is a flower (like a protuberance) of a 
golden colour, smaller than helichrysum. It is called 
ageratum because the flower remains for a long time, 
keeping its colour. A decoction of it is burning [to take or 
use]. Smoke from the herb itself is inhaled to induce the 
movement of urine, and to soften hardness around the 


womb. 


599 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


4-60. PERISTEREON ORTHOS 


suggested: Peristereon, Vervain [Pliny], Verbenaca recta, 
Verbena recta [Fuchs], Sinapis alterum genus sylvestre, 
Erysimum vuigare [Bauhin], Erysimum officinale [Linnaeus], 
Sisymbrium officinale [in Sprague] 

— Hedge Mustard [Mabberley] 

[other usage] V erbena triphytla, A loysia citriodora, L ippia citrata, 
Lippi a citriodora — Lemon Verbena, Herb Louisa 

P eristereon orthos grows in watery places. It seems to be 
named this because doves gladly stop around it. It is 
a n herb with a height of twenty centimetres (or rather 
more) the whitish leaves cut-in, growing out of the stalk. 
It is found for the most part with only one shoot and one 
root. It seems that the leaves (applied as a pessary with 
rosaceum [1-53] or new swines' grease) cause womb pains 
to stop. Applied with vinegar it represses erysipela 
[streptococcal skin infection] and rotten ulcers, and joins 
new wounds, and with honey it heals old ones with a 
new skin. The upright peristereon extends the pudendum 
[genitals], but that which bends is drying. The upright 
(tied to one) is good for pains of the eyes, dimness of 
sight, and headache, and it eases weariness. Bruised with 
vinegar it immediately dissolves scrofulous tumours 
[glandular swelling], goitres, and hardened tonsils. 
When anyone shivers with a fever let someone with 
branches from this stand before him and immediately he 
is cured. It is also called trygonium , bunion, sacra herba, or 
philtrodotes-, the Egyptians say pempsempte, the Magi, 
I u non is lachryma, some say the blood of the weasel, the 
Romans, crista gallinacea, and some, ferrea, trixatis, exupera, 
or herba sanguinalis. 

4-61. PERISTEREON UPTIOS, 
IEROBOTANE 


suggested: Peristereon, Verbenaca, Vervain [Pliny], 
Verbena su pin a, Verbenaca supina [Fuchs], 

Verbena communis caeruio fiore [Bauhin], Verbena officinalis 
[Linnaeus] — Vervain, Pigeon's Grass, Holy Herb 

H ierabotane sends out angular stems of a foot (or 
rather more) around which are the leaves at 
distances — similar to the oak, yet narrower, smaller and 


600 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Papauer fatniupurpureS & albu. isj 
3amec tT!« 3 fomen. 



601 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



602 





THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


cut-in all around, drawing to an azure [blue]. The root is 
somewhat long and thin; the flowers purple and thin. 
The leaves and root (given to drink with wine or smeared 
on) are useful against snakes. A teaspoonful of a 
decoction of the leaves with thirty grains of frankincense 
in one half-pint of old wine is taken as a drink for 
jaundice by one fasting for forty days. The leaves 
(applied) lessen inflammation and long-lasting oedema, 
and clean foul ulcers. The whole herb (boiled with wine) 
breaks crusts all around in the tonsils. Gargled, it stops 
erosive ulcers in the mouth. An infusion of it sprinkled in 
feasts is said to make the guests merrier [relaxant]. The 
third joint from the earth (with all the leaves) is given to 
drink to those who have a paroxysm every third day. The 
fourth joint is given to those who have a paroxysm every 
fourth day. They call it sacra herba because it suitable for 
use as amulets in purification. It is also called peristereon 
[huption], erigenion, chamadycon, sideritis, curitis, 
phersephoriion, lovis colum, dichromon, callesis, hipparison, or 
demetrias; the Egyptians say pemphthephtha ; Pythagoras 
calls it erysisceptron, and the Romans, cincinnalis. 


4-62. ASTRAGALOS 


suggested: A stragalus gummifera — Astragal, Milk Vetch 
A stragalus glycyphyllos — Milk Vetch, Liquorice Vetch 


see 1-113 



Stragalus is a small little shrub on the ground, similar 


L \.to chickpea in the leaves and sprigs. The little leaves 
are purple, and the root lies underneath — round, of a 
good amount, similar to the radish, with strong, black, 
hard growths folded one within another like horns — 
pleasantly astringent to the taste. It grows in windy, 
shady and snowy places, and in great abundance in 
Memphis, Arcadia. A decoction of the root (taken as a 
drink in wine) stops flowing bowels and induces urine. It 
is good (similarly) dried into powder and sprinkled on 
old ulcers, and it staunches blood. It is pounded with 
difficulty because of the solidity of it. It is also called 
chamaesyce, onyx, or gatales, the Romans say pinus trivius, 
as well as ficus terrae, and some call it glacula, scene talum, 
or non aria. 


603 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


4-63. UAKINTHOS 


suggested: Hyacinthus caeruleus maximus [Fuchs], 
Hyacinthus comosus major purpureus [Bauhin], 
Hyacinthus comosus [Linnaeus], M uscari comosum [in Sprague] 
— Tassel Hyacinth 


Hyacinthus caeruleus maior [Fuchs], 
Hyacinthus racemosus caeruleus monor latifolius [Bauhin], 
Hyacinthus botyroides [Linnaeus], M uscari botyroides 
— Grape Hyacinth 
ALSO: Scilla bi folia [Linnaeus] — Squill 



H yacinthus has leaves similar to a bulbus [2-200]; a 
smooth green stalk twenty centimetres long, 
thinner than a little finger; a curled calyx lying on it full of 
flowers of a purple colour, and the root similar to bulbus. 
Smeared with white wine on boys this is thought to keep 
them hairless; it also is therapeutic for the bowels. A 
decoction (taken as a drink) induces urine, and helps 
those bitten by harvest spiders. The seed is more 
astringent and is put in treacles. A decoction (taken as a 
drink with wine) cleanses jaundice. It is also called 
helonias, or porphyranthes; the Romans call it vaccinium, 
and some, ulcinum. 

4-64. MEKON ROIAS 


suggested: P apaver-erraticum primum [Fuchs], Papaver rhoeas 
[Linnaeus] — Field Poppy, Corn Rose, Corn Poppy 



Papaver rhoeas 
after FAGUET — 1874 


P apaver er rati cum is called this because it quickly casts 
away its flower; it grows in fields in the spring, at 
which time it is also gathered. The leaves are similar to 
origanum, eruca [2-170], chicory, or thyme — jagged but 
longer and rough. It has a downy stalk — straight, rough, 
a foot in height. The flower is purple and sometimes 
white, similar to that of the wild anemone, the head is 
somewhat long, yet somewhat smaller than that of 
anemone, the seed is red. The root is somewhat long, 
whitish, the thickness of a little finger, and bitter. Having 
boiled five or six little heads of this (with three cups of 
wine to reduce it to two), give it to drink to those whom 
you would make sleep. A decoction of much as an 
acetabulum [vinegar cruet] of the seed (taken as a drink 


604 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


481 Hyacinthus coeruleusma^ 

iorfcemfna. 

< 5 :o£ bkw iTlcrrieiiWum tpeiWfc 



605 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



606 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


with honey and water) softens the bowels gently. It is 
also mixed with honeyed confections and cakes for the 
same purpose. The leaves (applied together with the 
heads) heal inflammation. A decoction of them applied 
with hot cloths (or sprinkled on) is sleep inducing. It is 
also called oxytonum ; the Romans call it papaveraiis, and 
the Egyptians, nanti. 

4-65. MEKON AGRIOS, MEKON 
EMEROS 


suggested: Papaver sativum [Fuchs], 

Papaver hortensis seminealbo [Bauhin], 

Papaver somniferum var album [Linnaeus] 

— White Opium Poppy 

Papaver somniferum var niger [Loudon] — Black Poppy 

NARCOTIC. Cultivation of poppies with the intention of producing opium is illegal. 

T here is a poppy that is cultivated and set in gardens, 
the seed of which is made into bread for use in the 
time of health. They use it with honey instead of sesame, 
and it is called thylacitis — having a somewhat long little 
head and white seed. The other (which is wild and also 
called pithitishas) has a head bending down, and some 
call it rhoeas [4-64] because a liquid flows out of it. There is 
a third — more wild, more medicinal and longer than 
these, with a head somewhat long — and they are all 
cooling. The leaves and heads (boiled in water and 
applied with hot cloths) cause sleep. A decoction is taken 
as a drink against lack of sleep. The heads (pounded into 
small pieces and mixed into poultices with polenta) are 
good for inflammation and erysipela [streptococcal skin 
infection]. It is necessary for those who beat them when 
they are green to make them into tablets, dry them for 
storage, and then use them. The heads are boiled alone in 
water until half, and then boiled again with honey until 
the dullness is thickened, make a licking medicine 
soothing for coughs, dripping fluids in the throat, and 
abdominal afflictions. It becomes more effective if juice of 
hypocistis [1-127] and acacia are mixed with it. 

The seed of the black poppy (pounded into small 
pieces) is given to drink with wine for excessive 
discharges of the bowels, and women's excessive 
discharges. It is applied with water on the forehead and 


607 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


temples for those who cannot sleep, but the liquid itself 
(taken) is more cooling, thickening, and drying. A little of 
it (taken with as much as a grain of ervum [2-129, 2-131]) is 
a pain-easer, a sleep-causer, and a digester, helping 
coughs and abdominal cavity afflictions. Taken as a drink 
too often it hurts (making men lethargic) and it kills. It is 
helpful for aches, sprinkled on with rosaceum [1-53]; and 
for pain in the ears dropped in them with oil of almonds, 
saffron, and myrrh [1-77, 1-73, 4-116]. For inflammation 
of the eyes it is used with a roasted egg yolk and saffron, 
and for erysipeia [streptococcal skin infection] and 
wounds with vinegar; but for gout with women's milk 
and saffron. Put up with the finger as a suppository it 
causes sleep. That liquid is best which is thick, heavy, and 
sleepy in smell, bitter to the taste, easily pierced with 
water, smooth, white, not sharp, neither clotted nor 
growing thick in the straining (like wax), and when set in 
the sun flowing abroad, and when lighted at a candle not 
with a dark flame, and keeping strength in its smell after 
it is put out. They counterfeit it by mixing glaucium 
[3-100], gum, or juice of the wild lettuce. But dissolved, 
that made from glaucium is a saffron colour. That of the 
wild lettuce is faint in its smell and rougher. That of gum 
is without strength and transparent. Some are come to so 
much madness as to mix grease with it. It is set on fire for 
eye medicines in a new ceramic jar until it appears to be 
softer and a more yellowish red. 

Erasistratus says that Diagoras disallows the use of it 
for those who are sick with ear sores or eye sores, because 
it is a duller of the sight and a causer of sleep. Andreas 
says that if it were not adulterated they would be blind 
who were rubbed with it. Mnesidemus says that the use 
of it is only effective to inhale, good to cause sleep, and 
that otherwise it is hurtful. These things are false, 
disproved by experience, because the efficacy of the 
medicine bears witness to the work of it. 

It is not out of place to describe the way they gather 
the liquid. Some beat the stems with the leaves, squeeze it 
out through a press, beat it in a mortar, and make it into 
lozenges. This is called meconium and is weaker than 
opium. It is necessary for those who make opium (after 
the dew has dried away) to scarify around the asterisk 
[star on top] with a knife so that it does not pierce into the 
inside, and from the sides of the head make straight 
incisions in the outside, and to wipe off the fluid that 


608 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Pfyllium, 

jpfyticn&mu 



609 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


301 Mafasnfana* 

iTidxr>t?zn, 



610 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


comes out with the finger into a spoon, and again to 
return not long after, for there is found another 
thickened (fluid), and also on the day after. It must be 
pounded in a mortar and stored as tablets, but in cutting 
it you must stand back so that the liquid is not wiped 
away on your clothes. It is also called chamaesyce, mecon 
rhoeas, or oxytonon ; the Romans say papaver, and the 
Egyptians, wanti. 


4-66. MEKON KERATITES 


suggested: Papaver corniculatum [Fuchs, Brunfels], 
Chelidonium glaucum [Linnaeus], Glaucium f/avum [in 
Sprague], Glaucium luteum — Horned Poppy, Sea Poppy 

P apaver cornutum has rough white leaves similar to 
verbascum [4-104], jagged like a saw all around like 
those of wild poppy, with the stalk the same, the flower a 
pale yellow, with a little pod (bending like a horn) similar 
to that of fenugreek, from which it is named. The seed is 
small, black, similar to that of poppy. The thick black root 
grows on the surface of the ground. It grows in rough 
maritime places. The root (boiled in water until half the 
amount remains and taken as a drink) is able to cure 
sciatica and liver disorders, and to help those who urinate 
thick or cobweb-like stuff. An acetabulum [vinegar cruet] 
of a decoction of the seed (taken as a drink with honey 
and water) purges the bowels gently, and the leaves and 
flowers (smeared on with oil) root out the crusts of ulcers. 
Rubbed on, it takes away argema [small white ulcer on the 
cornea] and small clouds in the eyes of beasts. Some have 
been deceived, thinking that glaucium [3-100] was made 
of this, because of the resemblance of the leaves. In eating 
or drinking this same horned poppy the same symptoms 
occur as in the taking of opium [above], and they fall 
under the same remedies. The seed is gathered dry in the 
summer. A decoction of the root is taken as a drink and it 
cures dysentery. It is also called paralion, agrestepapaver, or 
thalassium, the Romans say pabulum marinum, and the 
Africans, sisimaca. 



611 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


4-67. MEKON APHRODES 


suggested: H eracleum gummiferum, H eracleum pubescens, 

H eracleum pyrenaicum — Downy Cow Parsnip 

P apaver spumeum (called heracleum by some) has a stalk 
twenty centimetres long, and the leaves especially 
small, similar to radicula [radish], the seed white between 
them, and the entire small herb is white and frothy. The 
root is thin for the most part. The seed of this is gathered 
in the summer when it is fully-grown, and when dried 
falls away. A vinegar cruet of the seed (taken with honey 
and water) purges by vomiting, and such a purging is 
effectively good for epilepsy. 

4-68. UPEKOON 

suggested: Hypecoum procumbens — Horned Cumin, 
Procumbent Hypecoum 

H ypecoon (also called hypopheon ) grows among wheat 
and fields. It has a leaf similar to rue, with little 
branches, and it has uses similar to those of the juice of 

poppy- 


4-69. UOSKUAMOS MELAS, 
UOSKUAMOS LEUKOS, UOSKUAMOS 
MELOIDES 


suggested: Hyoscyamus flavus [Fuchs], Hyoscyamus niger 
[Linnaeus] — Henbane, Hen Bell, Hyoscyamus 
Hyoscyamus albus — White Henbane 

POISONOUS 

H yoscyamus is a shrub that sends out thick stalks. The 
leaves are broad, somewhat long, jagged, black, 
and rough. At the stalk flowers come out in sequence, like 
the flowers of the pomegranate, hedged in with little 
shields full of seed (like the poppy above). There are three 
important different types, however. For one bears almost 
purple flowers, leaves similar to smilax [4-144, 4-145], a 
black seed, and little hard, prickly shields. But the other 
has yellowish flowers, with the leaves and pods more 


612 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


SofonTimfiorterife* 



613 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



Physalis alkekengi 
after THIEBAULT — 1888 


614 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


tender, and the seed a faint yellow like that of iris. These 
both cause delirium and sleep, and are scarcely usable. 
The fittest for cures is the third kind, which is the gentlest 
— fat, tender, and downy, with white flowers and white 
seed. It grows near the sea and among the rubbish of 
buildings. 

You must therefore use the white, but if this is not 
present then you must use the yellow, but refuse the 
black, which is the worst. The seed is juiced while tender, 
and the leaves and the stalks are pounded and pressed, 
the mass then dried in the sun. It is useful for a year 
because it is soon spoiled. The seed of it (in particular) is 
juiced, pounded until dry with hot water poured on it, 
and so pressed out. The juice is better than the liquid, and 
better for pain. The green seed is pounded and mixed 
with 'three months' wheat meal, made into tablets, and 
stored. First of all the juice and that liquid made from the 
dry seed is made for suppositories to take away pain, for 
sharp hot mucus, ear pains, and the disorders of the 
womb. With meal or polenta it is used for inflammation 
of the eyes and feet, and other inflammation. Ten grains 
of the seeds (taken in a drink with the seed of poppy, 
honey and water) do the same things, and are also good 
for coughs, mucus, fluid discharges of the eyes and their 
other disorders, and for women's excessive discharges 
[menstrual flow] and other discharges of blood. Pounded 
into small pieces with wine and applied, it is good for 
gout, inflated genitals, and breasts swollen in childbirth. 
It is effective mixed with other poultices made to stop 
pain. The leaves (made into little balls) are good to use in 
all medications — mixed with polenta or else applied by 
themselves. The fresh leaves (smeared on) are the most 
soothing of pain for all difficulties. A decoction of three or 
four (taken as a drink with wine) cures fevers called 
epialae [sudden]. Boiled like vegetables and a tryblium 
[plateful] eaten, they cause a mean disturbance of the 
senses. They say if anyone gives a suppository with it to 
someone that has an ulcer in the perineum that it has the 
same effect. The root (boiled with vinegar) is a mouth 
rinse for toothache. 

It is also called dioscyamos, python ion, adamas, 
adamenon, hypnoticum, emmanes, atomon, or dithiambrion ; 
Pythagoras and Osthenes call it x el eon, Zoroastres, 
tephonion, the Romans, inanaoentaria, some, Apollinaris, 


615 



BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


the Magi, rhaponticum, the Egyptians, saptho, the 
Thuscans, phoebulonga, the Gauls, bilinuntiam, and the 
Dacians, dieliam. 


4-70. PSULLION 

suggested: Psyllium [Fuchs], Psyllium majus erectum 
[Bauhin], Plantago psyllium [Linnaeus] — Psyllium, Flea Seed 

P syllium has a rough leaf similar to coronopis [2-158] 
only longer, stems twenty centimetres long, and the 
whole herb little like hay. The stem comes from the 
middle of the stalk, with two or three little pods rolled on 
the top close together, in which is seed similar to fleas, 
black and hard. It grows in fields and unfilled places. 

Applied with rosaceum [1-53], vinegar, or water it is 
cooling; it helps the arthritic, inflammation of the parotid 
gland, tumours, oedema, dislocations and aches. 
Smeared on with vinegar it heals the hernias of children 
and those whose navels protrude. Having pounded an 
acetabulum [vinegar cruet] of it into small pieces, they 
must steep it in two fingers of water, and smear it on 
(when the water has grown thick) for it cools abundantly. 
Put into boiling water it suppresses heat, and it is also 
good against erysipela [streptococcal skin infection]. They 
say that brought into a house (fresh) it does not allow 
fleas to breed. Pounded with grease it cleans the foulness 
and malignancies of ulcers, and the juice (with honey) is 
good for running ears, and ears with worms. It is also 
called cataphysis, cynocephalion, crystallium, cynomuia, 
psylleris, or sicelioticon; the Sicilians call it conidijs, the 
Romans, silvacium, some, herba pulicaria, and the Africans, 
vargugum. 

4-71. STRUCHNOS KEPAIOS 


suggested: M ala-insana, A moris poma [Fuchs], 

Solanum pomiferum fructu oblongo [Bauhin], 

Solarium melongena [Linnaeus] — Eggplant 

S trychnos cepaius is a little shrub that is edible, not large, 
with many wings, the leaves dark, bigger and 
broader than ocymum [basil], the fruit round and green, 
which becomes black or yellow after it is ripe. The herb is 


616 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



POISONOUS 
after FAGUET — 1888 


617 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Mandragora mas* pi 

2ffr«um mcnnlc. 



618 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


harmless to the taste, and it is cooling — as a result the 
leaves (applied) are good for erysipela [streptococcal skin 
infection] and shingles [herpes] with flour of polenta. By 
themselves (pounded into small pieces and applied) they 
cure ulcers on the eyes and aches. Pounded into small 
pieces with salt and applied, they help a burning 
stomach, and dissolve inflammation of the parotid gland. 
The juice (with cerusa [wax], rosaceum [1-53] and sediment 
[of grapes]) is good against erysipela [streptococcal skin 
infection] and herpes [viral skin infection]; and with bread 
for ulcers on the eyes. Gently poured on with rosaceum, it 
is good for children with psoriasis. It is mixed with 
eyewashes instead of water, or (with an egg) for rubbing 
on for sharp discharges. Dropped in the ears it helps 
earache, and applied as a pessary in wool it stops 
women's excessive discharges [menstrual flow]. The juice 
(kneaded together with yellow dung from barn hens and 
applied in a linen cloth) is suitable for aegilopses [ulcer or 
fistula in the inner angle of the eye]. It is also called 
[strychnos] sative, the Romans call it strumum, some, 
cacubalum, the Egyptians, all do, the Gauls, scubulum, and 
the Africans, astrismunim. 

4-72. STRUCHNON ALIKAKABON 


suggested: Halicacabum vulgare , Vesicaria,AII<al<engi [Fuchs], 
Physalis alkekengi [Linnaeus], Physal is halicacabum, 
Physalis franchtfi, A Ikekengi officinarum — Strawberry Tomato, 
Winter Cherry, Alkekeng, Bladder Herb 

POISONOUS 

T here is also another strychnos (which they properly 
call halicacabum [bad poison] or physalis ) with similar 
leaves to that previously spoken of, yet broader, but the 
stalks of this (after they have grown) bend towards the 
earth. It has fruit in round pods similar to bladders — 
reddish, round, smooth, like the kernel of a grape — 
which the crown-plaiters use, plaiting with it wreaths for 
the head. It has the same strength and use as garden 
strychnos [above] except when eaten. The fruit (taken in a 
drink) is able to clean away urinary jaundice. The herb of 
either of them is juiced and dried in the shade for storage, 
and is available for the same uses. It is also called 
dirceaum, solanum furiale, dorycnion, or calliada; the 


619 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Romans call it Apollinaris minor , some, herba ulticana, 
opsaginem, or vesicaria ; the Dacians call it cucolida, and the 
Africans, cacabum. 

4-73. STRUCHNON UPNOTIKON 

suggested: Solanum somniferum, M andragora morion [Fuchs], 
Solanum melanocerasus [Bauhin], A tropa belladonna 
— Deadly Nightshade 

Strychnos [Latin] — Nightshades — Solanum species 
POISONOUS 

S trychnos somnificum is a shrub of a good size, with 
many thick branches, with tails, hard to break, full of 
fat leaves, similar to the quince, with a red flower of good 
size, and the fruit in pods of a saffron colour. The root has 
a somewhat red bark. It grows in rocky places not far 
from the sea. A teaspoonful of a decoction of the bark of 
this root (taken as a drink in wine) is sleep inducing, 
milder than the liquid of poppy. But the fruit is too 
urinary. A decoction of a cluster of twelve berries (taken 
as a drink) is given for dropsy, but more induce a faint. 
This is helped by a large quantity of honey and water 
taken as a drink. The juice of it is mixed with medications 
and lozenges to ease pain. Boiled in wine and held [in the 
mouth] it helps toothache. The juice from the root 
(rubbed on with honey) takes away dullness of the sight. 
Some call this halicacabum [bad poison], 

4-74. STRUCHNON MANIKON 


suggested: Soianum hortense [Fuchs], Solanum officinarum 
[Bauhin], Solanum nigrum [Fuchs, Linnaeus] 

— Black Nightshade, Hound's Berry 

Strychnos [Latin] — Nightshades — Solanum species 
POISONOUS 

S trychnos manicus has a leaf that is a neighbour to eruca 
[2-170] but bigger, coming close to those of the 
acanthus called paederos. It sends out ten or twelve tall 
stalks from the root, the height of one and a half metres, 
with heads lying on them like olives but rougher, like the 


620 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


48 AconitumPardalianches, 

©ollrourtj. 



621 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Aconitum Iycodlonon luceum, 4 9 
tDoIffjstcurtj. 

k 

m 


A coni turn lycocotonum luteum 
after FUCHS — 1545 



622 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


ball of the plane tree but bigger and broader. The flower 
is black and after this it has cluster-like fruit — round, 
black, ten or twelve in partitions, similar to the cluster of 
berries of cissus [2-210], soft as grapes. The root lies 
underneath — white, thick, hollow, the length of about a 
foot. It grows in hilly places open to the wind, and among 
rocks near the sea. A teaspoon of a decoction of the root 
(taken as a drink with wine) is able to effect not 
unpleasant fantasies [hallucinogenic]. Two teaspoonfuls 
of a decoction (taken as a drink) make one beside himself 
for three days, and four (taken as a drink) kill him. The 
remedy of this is honey and water, taken as a drink in 
copious amounts and vomited up again. Some have 
called it persion, thryon, anydron, pentadryon, enoron, or 
orthogyion. 


4-75. DORUKNION 

SUGGESTED: Dorycnium [Bedevian] — Venemous Trefoil 
also: Dorycnium monspdiense, Dorycnium herbaceum 
Senecio doronicum — Leopard's Bane Groundsel 

POISONOUS 

D orycnium is a shrub similar to a newly-planted olive, 
with branches less than a foot long. It grows among 
rocks not far from the sea. It has leaves similar to the olive 
in colour but smaller, stronger and extremely coarse. The 
flower is white, on the top it has little pods as thick as 
those of cicer [2-126] in which are five or six little round 
seeds, about the amount of little ervum [2-129, 2-131], 
smooth, firm, and of various colours. The root is the 
thickness of a finger and the length of a foot, and this 
seems also to have a sleepy quality, and taken too much it 
kills. Some also say that the seed of it is taken for love 
medicines. Crateuas calls it halicacabum [a bad poison], or 
cal earn. 


623 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


4-76. MANDRAGORAS 


suggested: M andragora mas [Fuchs], 

M andragora fructu rotundo [Bauhin], M andragora officinarum 
[Linnaeus], A tropa man dr agora, M andragorites 
— Common Mandrake, Devil's Apple 

NARCOTIC, POISONOUS 


M andagoras has a root that seems to be a maker of 
love medicines. There is one sort that is female, 
black, called thridacias, with narrower, longer leaves than 
lettuce, with a poisonous, heavy scent, scattered on the 
ground. Among them are apples similar to serviceberries 
— pale, with a sweet scent — in which is seed like a pear. 
The two or three roots are a good size, wrapped within 
one another, black according to outward appearance, 
white within, and with a thick bark; but it has no stalk. 

The male is white, and some have called it nor ion. The 
leaves are bigger, white, broad, smooth like beet but the 
apples are twice as big — almost saffron in colour, sweet- 
smelling, with a certain strength — which the shepherds 
eat to fall asleep. The root is similar to that above, yet 
bigger and paler, and it is also without a stalk. The bark of 
the root is pounded and juiced while it is fresh, and 
placed under a press. After it is stirred the beaters should 
bottle it in a ceramic jar. The apples are also juiced in a 
similar way, but the juice from them becomes weakened. 
The bark from the root is peeled off, pierced with a 
thread, and hanged up in storage. Some boil the roots in 
wine until a third remains, strain it, and put it in jars. 

They use a winecupful of it for those who cannot 
sleep, or are seriously injured, and whom they wish to 
anaesthetise to cut or cauterize. Twenty grains of the 
juice (taken as a drink with honey and water) expel 
phlegm and black bile upward like hellebore, but when 
too much is taken as a drink it kills. It is mixed with eye 
medicines, medications to ease pain, and softening 
suppositories. As much as five grains (applied alone) 
expels the menstrual flow and is an abortifacient, and put 
up into the perineum as a suppository it causes sleep. The 
root is said to soften ivory, boiled together with it for six 
hours, and to make it ready to be formed into whatever 
shape a man wants. Applied with polenta, the new leaves 
are good both for inflammations of the eyes and ulcers. 


624 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Cfcuta* 

tPuteri^ 



625 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



T axus baccata 
after FAGUET — 1888 


626 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


They dissolve all hardnesses, abscesses, glandular 
tumours [possibly goitre], and tumours. Rubbed on 
gently for five or six days it defaces scars without 
ulcerating. The leaves (preserved in brine) are stored for 
the same uses. The root (pounded into small pieces with 
vinegar) heals erysipela [streptococcal skin infection], 
and is used with honey or oil for the strikes of snakes. 
With water it disperses scrofulous tumours [glandular 
swelling], goitres and tumours; and with polenta it 
soothes the pains of the joints. Wine from the bark of the 
root is prepared without boiling. You must put three 
pounds (of the bark of the root) into thirteen gallons of 
sweet wine, and three cupfuls of it is given to those who 
shall be cut or cauterized (as previously mentioned). For 
they do not notice the pain because they are overcome 
with dead sleep; and the apples (inhaled or eaten) are 
sleep inducing, as is the apple juice. Used too much they 
make men speechless. A decoction of the seed of the 
apples (taken as a drink) purges the womb, and given as a 
pessary with sulphur that never felt the fire it stops the 
red excessive discharge [menstrual flow]. It is juiced — 
the root first incised or cut around various ways — and 
that which runs out is then gathered into a bowl; and the 
juice is more effective than the liquid. The roots do not 
bear liquid in every place; experience shows as much. 
They give out also that there is another sort called morion 
growing in shady places and around hollows, having 
leaves similar to the white mandrake but smaller (as it 
were), twenty centimetres long, white, lying round 
around the root. This is tender and white, a little longer 
than twenty centimetres, the thickness of the great 
finger. They say as much as a teaspoon of a decoction of 
this (taken as a drink or eaten with polenta in placetum, or 
food that is eaten with bread), will infatuate [cause 
unconsciousness]. For a man sleeps in the same fashion 
as when he ate it (sensible of nothing for three or four 
hours) from the time that it is brought him. And 
physicians also use this when they are about to cut or 
cauterize [anaesthetic]. They say also that a decoction of 
the root (taken as a drink with strychnos man i cum) is an 
antidote. It is also called anti melon, dircaea, circea, circaeum, 
xeranthe, antimnion, bombochylon, or m/non; the Egyptians 
call it apemum, Pythagoras, anthropomorphon, some, aloitin, 


627 



BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



Aconitum napellus 
after FAGUET — 1894 



Aconitum lycoctonum 
after FAGUET — 1894 


thridacian, or cammaron ; Zoroastres calls it diamonon, or 
archinen, the Magi, hemionous, some, gonogeonas, the 
Romans, mala can in a, and some, mala terrestria. 

4-77. AKONITON 


suggested: A conitum pardalianches [Fuchs], 

Solanum quadri folium bacciferum [Bauhin], 

Paris quadrifolia [Linnaeus] — Herb Paris 
[other usage] A conitum napellus, A conitum variable, 

A conitum pyramidale — Monk's Hood, Aconite, Wolf s-bane 

POISONOUS 

A conitum has three or four leaves similar to cyclamen 
or cucumber, yet smaller and a little rough; with a 
stalk of twenty centimetres, and a root similar to the tail 
of a scorpion, glittering like alabaster. They say that the 
root of this applied to a scorpion makes him insensible, 
and that he is raised again by hellebore applied to him. It 
is also mixed with pain-relieving medicines for eyes. Put 
into lumps of meat and given to them, it kills panthers, 
sows, wolves, and all wild beasts. It is also called 
pardalianches, cammarum, thelyphonum, myoctonon, or 
theriophonon. 

4-78. AKONITON ETERON 


suggested: Aconitum luteum, Aconitum lycoctonum [Fuchs, 
Linnaeus], Aconitum pyrenaicum, Aconitum vulparia 
— Wolf' s-bane. Dog' s-bane 


POISONOUSR 


A conitum alter um grows plentifully in Italy on the hills 
called Vestini, differing from that above. It has 
leaves similar to those of the plane tree but more jagged 
and a great deal smaller and darker, with a bare stalk (like 
a stem of fern) the height of a foot or more. The seed is in 
pods, in a way somewhat long; the black roots are like the 
fringes of squills [sea onions]; these they use for hunting 
wolves, placing them into raw meat which, when eaten 
by the wolves, kills them. It is also called cynoctonon, 
lycoctonon, or white bean, while the Romans call it 
colomestrum. 


628 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


134. Ephemerum non letalc# 
iTTeyeitblurole, 



BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Hcbdnc feu Parietaria* 
vrtb nad)t* 



630 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-79. KONEION 


suggested: Cicuta, C onion [Fuchs], Cicuta major [Bauhin] 
Conium macu latum [Linnaeus], Coriandrum macu latum 
— Poison Hemlock, Herb Bennet, Common Hemlock 

[other usage] Cicuta virosa — Water Hemlock, Cowbane 

POISONOUS 

C onium sends out a great knotty stalk (similar to 
marathrum [3-81]), with leaves similar to ferula but 
narrower with a heavy smell, and on the tops, abnormal 
growths and tufts, and a whitish flower with seed similar 
to aniseed [3-65] only whiter. The root is hollow and not 
deep. This is also one of the venomous herbs killing with 
its coldness, but it is helped by unmixed wine. The tops 
(or the filaments) are juiced before the seed is dry, 
pounded, pressed out, and thickened by stirring in the 
sun. Dried, this is very useful in cures. The juice is 
effectively mixed with pain-relieving eyewashes or 
salves. Smeared on, it removes herpes and erysipela 
[streptococcal skin infection]. The herb and the filaments 
(pounded into small pieces and smeared on about the 
testicles) help lustful dreamers and nocturnal emission of 
sperm; and smeared on, they weaken the genitals. They 
drive away milk, prevent the breasts from enlarging 
during virginity, and prevent the testicles in children 
from developing. The most potent grows in Crete, 
Megara and Attica, then that which grows in Chios and 
Cilicia. It is also called aegynos, ethusa, apolegousa, dolia, 
amaurosis, paralysis, aphron creidion, coete, catechomenion, 
abioton, apseudes, ageomoron, timoron, polyanodynos, 
dardanis, or catapsyxis; Osthenes calls it babathy, the 
Egyptians, apemphin, and the Romans, cicuta. 

4-80. MILAX 


suggested: T axus baccata [Pliny] — Yew Tree 

POISONOUS 

M iiax is a tree similar to the fir in its leaves and their 
quantities, growing in Italy and Narbona near 
Spain. Chickens that eat the fruit of that which grows in 


631 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Italy turn black, and men that eat it fall into 
unconsciousness. That growing in Narbonie has such 
great strength that those who sit underneath (or fall 
asleep) are hurt by the shade, and that frequently they 
die. This is mentioned as a warning. It is also called 
thymalus, and the Romans call it taxus. 

4-81. APOCUNON 

suggested: A pocynum venetum — Venetian Dog's-bane 

POISONOUS 

A pocynon is a shrub with long willow-like stems, hard 
to break; leaves similar to c'lSSUS [2-210] but softer 
and sharper towards the top; with a heavy scent; full of 
yellow juice, somewhat viscous. The fruit is like a pod of 
beans, about the thickness of a finger, similar to a bladder, 
in which are little seeds — hard, small and black. Put into 
bread and put out for them, the leaves of this kills dogs, 
wolves, foxes, and panthers, and immediately dissolves 
their lips. It is also called cyrianchon, pardalianches, 
cynomoron, cynocrambe, cynoctonon, phaleos, cynanche, 
oligoros, hippomanes, onistis, ophioscorodon, cynarice, or 
daphoscordon; the Magi call it paralysis, the Romans, 
brassica rustica, and some, can in a. 

4-82. NERION 


suggested: N erium, 0 leander [Fuchs], N erium oleander 
— Rose Bay, Oleander 

POISONOUS 

N erium is a well-known shrub, with longer, thicker 
leaves than the almond; a flower similar to a rose, 
and fruit similar to that of the almond, but with a horn 
which (opened) is full of a downy stuff similar to 
thistledown. The root is sharp, pointed, long, woody, and 
brackish to the taste. It grows in enclosed greens, sea- 
bordering places and in places near rivers. The flower 
and the leaves are able to kill dogs, asses, mules and most 
four footed living creatures, but they preserve men [dead 
bodies, perhaps]. A decoction is taken as a drink with 
wine against the bites of venomous creatures, and more 


632 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


1 $ 


Sedum minus mas* 
^leirr menle* 



Sedum minus mas 
after FUCHS — 1545 


633 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Vtticamaior. $9 

Septet (fleficC 



634 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


so if you mix it with rue [3-52, 3-53, 4-98]; but more weak 
sorts of living creatures such as goats and sheep die if 
they drink the steepings of them. It is also called 
rododaphne, rhododendron , spongos, or haemostaris; the 
Romans call it rhododendron, oleander, and laurorosa , the 
Lucanians, icmane, the Egyptians, scinphe, and the 
Africans, rhodedaphane. 

4-83. MUKETES 

SUGGESTED: Fungi species — Mushrooms etc. 

SOME SPECIES POISONOUS 

F ungi have a double difference for they are either 
edible or poisonous, and come to be so on many 
occasions, for they grow among rusty nails, rotten rags, 
the holes of snakes, or among trees that bear harmful 
fruits. Such as these also have a viscous coalesced fluid, 
and stored after they are picked they quickly spoil, 
growing rotten. Those that are not harmful (boiled in 
broth) are sweet, yet for all that taken too much they hurt, 
being hard to digest, choking or breeding bile. All are 
helped; drenched with nitre [saltpetre] and oil, or soaked 
in a decoction of sharp brine or thymbra [3-45], or liquified 
with origanum, or hen dung with vinegar, or syruped 
with a quantity of honey. They are nourishing and hard 
to dissolve, and are put out whole (for the most part) with 
the excrement. 


4-84. KOLCHIKON 


suggested: Colchicum, H ermodactylis [Fuchs], 
Colchicum commune [ Bauhin], Colchicum autumn ale [Linnaeus] 
— Meadow Saffron 

POISONOUS 

W hen autumn ceases colchicum sends out a whitish 
flower similar to the flower of saffron; afterwards 
it bears leaves similar to bulbus [2-200], but fatter. The 
stalk is twenty centimetres long; it has a red seed, and the 
root has a tawny black bark which, peeled, and is found 
white, tender, and full of sweet liquid. The bulb has a 
central partition at which it sends out the flower. It grows 


635 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


abundantly in Messenia and at Colchos. Eaten, it kills by 
choking, similar to mushrooms. We have described it so 
that it may not lie hidden and be eaten instead of bulbus, 
for it is strangely alluring to the inexperienced for its 
pleasantness. To help those who eat these, give them 
whatever helps those who eat mushrooms [above], and 
cow's milk (taken as a drink) so that when this is at hand 
they need no other help. It is also called ephemerum, or 
agrestis bulbus, and the Romans call it bulbus agrestis. 

4-85. EPHEMERON 

suggested: Ephemerum-non-letale, Lilium convallium [Fuchs], 
Lilium convallium album [Bauhin], Convallaria majalis 
[Linnaeus] — Lily of The Valley 

E phemerum has leaves and a stalk similar to the lily but 
whiter, the flowers white, bitter, and the seed soft. 
The root lies underneath, single, the thickness of a finger, 
long, astringent and sweet smelling. It grows in woods 
and shady places. The root of this (used in a mouth rinse) 
is a remedy for toothache. The leaves (boiled in wine and 
smeared on) dissolve oedema and tumours without fluid. 
It is also called agrestis iris. 

4-86. ELXINE 


suggested: Helxine, Parietaria [Fuchs], 

Parietaria officinarum et Dioscorides [Bauhin], 

Parietaria officinalis [Linnaeus] — Pellitory of the Wall 
[other usage] H elxinesoleirolii, Soleirolia soleirolii 
— Mind-your-own-business, Mother of Thousands 

H elxine grows in mounds and walls. It has thin little 
stalks, somewhat red, rough leaves similar to 
mercury [4-191]; and around the stalks (as it were) sharp 
little seeds, catching hold of cloths. The leaves are 
astringent and cooling, as a result (smeared on) they heal 
erysipela [streptococcal skin infection], venereal warts, 
dehydration, pan n US [opaque thickening of cornea with 
veins] that is beginning, all types of inflammation, and 
oedema. The juice of it (mixed with cerussa [white lead 
ore] and smeared on) helps erysipela [streptococcal skin 
infection] and herpes [viral skin infection]; and taken with 


636 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Galeopfts minor* 
%Uin i&xMxnxcuxx$. 



Galeopsis minor 
after FUCHS — 1545 


637 



BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Gallium* 10 

X)nfer drawer* 



638 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


cyprinum [1-65] and goat's grease, it helps gout in the feet. 
As much as a wine cupful of the juice (sipped) helps those 
who have coughed a long time, is an effective gargle and 
ointment for inflamed tonsils, and dropped in the ears 
with rosaceum [1-53] is good for earache. It is also called 
sideritis, parthenium, heraclia, asyria, agrestis hygiena, 
clibadium, or polyonymon. 

4-87. ALSINE 

suggested-. A I sine mai or [Fuchs], A Isinemedia [Bauhin, 
Linnaeus], Stellara media [in Sprague] — Stitchwort, 
Chickweed, Starwort [Mabberley] 

[other usage] A Isi nejunipera, A Isine verna — Alsine 
A Isine procu bens, A renaria procubens — Purslane, Chickweed, 

Sandwort 

see 2-214 


A lsine is named because it has leaves similar to the 
little ears of a mouse, and it is also called alsine 
because it loves shady woody places. It is a herb similar to 
helxine [4-86] but lower, longer-leaved, and not rough, 
and bruised it smells of cucumbers. Smeared on with 
polenta, it is cooling and astringent, good for 
inflammation of the eyes. The juice of it is dropped in the 
ears for earaches, and in general it can do the same things 
as helxine. It is also called mouse-ear, anthyllion, 
myortochon, or myortosplenon; the Romans call it muris 
auricula, and the Africans, laphotholabat. 

4-88. PHAKOS EPI TON TELMATON 


suggested: L emna poiyrrhiza, Spirodela polyrrhiza 
— Greater Duckweed 

L emna minor — Water Lentils, Water Lens, Duckweed 

L ens (which grows in marshes) is found in standing 
waters, being a moss similar to lentils which is 
cooling. It is good (applied both by itself or with polenta) 
for all inflammation, erysipeta [streptococcal skin 
infection], and gout of the feet; and it also heals vaginal 
hernias found in children. It is also called wild lens, or 
epipteron, the Romans call it viperalis, and some, 
iceosmigdonos. 


639 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


4-89. AEIZOON TO MEGA 



Sempervivum tectorum 
after FAGUET — 1888 




suggested: Sedum maius [Fuchs], Sedum majus vulgare 
[Bauhin], Sempervivum tectorum [Linnaeus] — Houseleek, 
Hens and Chickens, Jupiter's Beard, Roof Houseleek 

The Greeks gave the name aizoon to sempervivum [Loudon], 


T he great aizoon is called this because of its evergreen 
leaves. It sends out stalks a foot long or rather more, 
the thickness of a big finger, fat, very flourishing, with 
in-cuts (as it were) like the Characian tithymal [4-165a], 
The leaves are fat, the size of a big finger, similar to a 
tongue towards the top, those below bending 
downwards, but those around the head set together one 
to another, describing an eye-like circle. It grows in hilly 
and tilled places. Some plant it on their houses. 

It is cooling and astringent; the leaves (applied by 
themselves or with polenta) are good for erysipda, herpes 
[viral skin infection], and gangrenous ulceration of the 
cheeks, inflammation of the eyes, burns, and gout in the 
feet. The juice is poured on with polenta and rosaceum 
[1-53] for headaches, and it is given in drink to those 
bitten by harvest spiders, those with diarrhoea, and for 
dysentery. Taken as a drink with wine it draws out 
roundworms, and in a pessary it stops women's excessive 
discharges [menstrual flow]. The juice is effective rubbed 
on weak eyes, by reason of blood. It is also called aeithales, 
ambrosion, chrysospermon, zoophthalmon, bouophthalmum, 
stergethron, aeonion aichryson, holochryson, chrysanthemom, 
protogonom, boros, or notios; the Magi call it paronychia , 
some, chrysitis, the Romans, ceriacuspia , some, Jov is caul is, 
leapetes, or sedum majus, and the Egyptians, pamphanes. 


4-90. AEIZOON TO MIXRON 


suggested: Sedum minus mas [Fuchs], Sedum rupestre 
[Linnaeus] — Stonecrop 

S empervivum parvum [ aizoon ] grows in walls, rocks, 
mounds, and somewhat shady ditches. The many 
little stalks emerge from one root, thin, full of little round, 
fat, leaves, small, sharp on the top. It sends out a stalk in 
the middle also, in size about twenty centimetres, with a 
tuft and flowers, thin and green. The leaves of this have 


640 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



641 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Potamogeton, 

Sarofraur. 


*74 



642 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


the same strength as the previous one. Some call the 
thin-leaved sempervivum, sempervivum parvum, 
petrophthes, or sempervivum syivestre, and the Romans call 
it sempervivum minus. Sempervivum is also called 
petrophues, brotion, theobrotion, crobysson, chimerinen, or 
ceraunia ; the Romans call it vital is, some, herba semperviva, 
and the Egyptians, etijcelta. 

4-91. AEIZOON ETERON 


suggested: Sedi tertium genus [Fuchs], 
Sempervivum minus vermiculatum acre [Bauhin], 
Sedum acre [Linnaeus] — Wall Pepper, Stonecrop 
[Mabberley] 


T here seems to be a third kind of sempervivum that has 
little leaves, thicker, similar to those of portuiaca 
[4-168], and rough. It grows among rocks. It is warming, 
sharp, and ulcerating, dissolving tumours [possibly 
goitre] applied with goose grease. It is also called portuiaca 
agrestis, or telephium, and the Romans call it illecebra. 

4-92. KOTULEDON 


suggested: Cotyledon lusitanica, U mbilicus erectus 
— Kidneywort, Navelwort, Venus's Navelwort 
Cotyledon umbilicus — Cotyledon, Navelwort, Pennywort 

U mbilicus veneris has a leaf like an acetabulum [vinegar 
cruet], round, hidden, and hollow, with a short little 
stalk in the middle in which is the seed. The root is round 
like the olive. The juice of this and the leaves (rubbed on 
with wine or squirted in), loosens the obstructions of the 
skin in the genitals. Applied, it helps inflammation, 
erysipela [streptococcal skin infection], chilblains, 
tumours [possibly goitre], and a burning stomach. The 
leaves (eaten with the root) break stones [urinary, 
kidney], and induce urine. It is given with mead [honey 
wine] for dropsy, and they also use it for love medicines. 
It is also called scytalium , cymbalium, hortus veneris , terrae 
umbilicus, stichis, or stergthron , and the Romans call it 
umbilicus veneris. 



Cotyledon umbilicus 
after FAGUET — 1874 


643 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


4-93. KOTULEDON ETERON 


suggested: Cotyledon or bicu lata, Cotyledon barbeyi 
— Cotyledon 

T here is also another kind of cotyledon with broader, 
fat leaves similar to little tongues, thick around the 
root, describing (as it were) an eye in the middle, similar 
to the bigger sempervivum [4-89], astringent to the taste. It 
has a thin little stalk, and on it flowers and seeds similar to 
hy peri cum [3-171], but the root is bigger. It is good for the 
same uses as sempervivum. It is also called cymbalium. 

4-94. AKALUPHE, AKALUPHE ETERA 

suggested: U rtica romana, U rtica vena [Fuchs], 

U rtica pilulifera [Linnaeus], U rtica dioica, U rtica urens 
[Linnaeus] — Roman Nettle [Loudon] 

U rtica maior [Fuchs], U rtica urens maxima [Bauhin], 

U rtica dioica [Linnaeus] — Stinging Nettle 
[other usage] A calypha indica — Acalypha, 
Three-seeded Mercury 

A calyphe has two varieties. One is wilder, sharper and 
darker in the leaves, and it has a seed similar to 
hempseed only smaller, and the other has a thin seed, not 
as sharp. The leaves of either of them (smeared on with 
salt) heal anything bitten by dogs, gangrene, 
malignancies, cancers, and the foulness of ulcers, 
dislocations, tumours, inflammation of the parotid gland, 
pan n US [opaque thickening of cornea with veins], and 
abscesses. They are applied to the splenical with wax 
ointment. The leaves (pounded into small pieces and 
applied with the juice) are good for discharges of blood 
from the nostrils. Pounded small and applied with myrrh 
[1-77, 1-73, 4-116] they induce the menstrual flow; and 
the new leaves (applied) restore a prolapsed womb. A 
decoction of the seed (taken as a drink with passu m [raisin 
wine]) is an aphrodisiac and opens the womb. Licked in 
with honey it helps asthma, pleurisy and pneumonia, 
and fetches up stuff out of the chest. It is mixed with 
antiseptic preparations. The leaves (boiled together with 
small shellfish) soften the bowels, dissolve windiness, 
and induce urine. Boiled with barley water they bring up 
stuff from the chest. A decoction of the leaves (taken as a 


644 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


490 


V erbafcum nigrum, 

£Du['(fraut. 


Verbascum nigrum 
after FUCHS — 1545 



645 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Verbafcum fylueftre, 491 
Spilt* SPuUfwut. 



Verbascum sylvestre 
after FUCHS — 1545 


646 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


drink with a little myrrh) induces the menstrual flow, and 
the juice is gargled to keep down an inflamed uvula. It is 
also called knide, or adice, the Romans call it urtica, the 
Egyptians, selepsion, the Dacians, dyn. The other acalyphe 
is also called knide, and the Romans call it urtica mollis. 

4-95. GALIOPSIS 

suggested: Galeopsis, Scrophularia maior, Ficaria [Fuchs], 
Scrophularia aquatica [Linnaeus] — Water Figwort 

[other usage] Galeopsis tetrahit — Galeopsis, Holy Hemp, 
Common Hempnettle 

G aliopsis — the whole little shrub with the stalk and 
leaves is similar to the nettle, but the leaves are 
smoother, and smell strongly if bruised. The thin flowers 
are nearly purple. It grows in hedges, byways and house 
courtyards everywhere. The leaves, juice, stalk and seed 
are able to dissolve hard lumps, cancers, tumours 
[possibly goitre], inflammation of the parotid gland, and 
pan n US [opaque thickening of cornea with veins]. They 
must lay on a poultice of this twice a day, making the 
poultice lukewarm, and a decoction of this used in a 
warm pack is of benefit. It is also good applied with salt 
for nomae [grazer disease, eats away muscle, tissue and 
bones], other gangrenes, and rotten ulcers. It is also called 
guleobdolon, or galephos, the Egyptians call it aethopi, and 
the Romans, urtica labeonis. 

4-96. GALLION 

suggested: Gallium [Fuchs], Galium luteum [Bauhin], 
Galium verum [Linnaeus] — Ladies' Bedstraw, Rennet 

G al I ion is called this because coagulates milk instead 
of rennet. It has little branches, with the leaves very 
similar to aparina yet straight, and a thin yellowish flower 
on top, in thick abundance and smelling good. The 
flower is smeared on for burns from fire, and it stops 
flows of blood. It is also mixed with waxy rose ointment 
and placed in the sun till it turns white, and this is a 


647 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


medication for dcopon. The root encourages sexual 
intercourse [aphrodisiac]. It grows in marshy places. It is 
also called gallerium, or, galatium. 

4-97. ERIGERON 


suggested: Erigeron, Senetio [Fuchs, Brunfels], 

Senecio minor vulgaris [Bauhin], Senecio vulgaris [Linnaeus] 

— Groundsel 

S enecio is a reddish little stalk a foot high, with little 
leaves like eruca [2-170], jagged at the edges only a 
great deal smaller; the flowers are yellowish, quickly 
opening, and after blowing turn into down. This is also 
why it was called erigeron, because in the spring the 
flowers turn gray like hair; the root is of no use. It grows 
mostly on unmortared stone walls and about towns. The 
leaves with the flowers are cooling. The leaves smeared 
on with a little wine, or else by themselves, cure 
inflammations from stones [kidney, urinary], and of the 
perineum. With manna thuris [1-83] it heals other 
wounds, and nerves. The down smeared on by itself in 
vinegar does the same. Drunk while fresh they cause 
strangling. The whole stalk soaked with water and drunk 
with must [grape pulp] cures pains of the stomach from 
cholera. Some call it erechthites, the Romans, herbulum, 
some senecium ] 


4-98. THALIKTRON 

suggested: Thalictrum aquilegifolium 
— Columbine-leaved Meadow Rue 

Thalictrum flavum, Thalictrum nigricans — Fen Rue, 
Common Meadow Rue, False Rhubarb, 

see 3-52, 3-53 


T halictrum has leaves similar to coriander but fatter, 
and a little stalk the thickness of rue on which are the 
leaves. These are pounded into small pieces and applied 
to form a skin over ulcers that will not heal. It grows 
(especially) in fields. 


648 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



649 



BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Perfonada* 41 

<S:og %letten. 



650 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-99. BRUON TH ALAS SION 


suggested: Bryon, Bryum, Brion [French], Corallina officinalis 
— Thread Moss, Wall Moss, Corallina 
M uscus arboreus — Moss, Lichen Moss 

M uscus marinus grows on stones and shells by the sea 
— hairy, slender, without a stalk, very astringent 
— good for inflammation, and gout in the feet that needs 
astringency. It is also called bat laris, or irane, and the 
Romans call it gnomeusitum. 

4-100. PHUKOS THALASSION 

SUGGESTED: FUCUS vesiculosus — Bladderwrack 

F ucus marinus — one sort of it is broad, the other 
somewhat long and almost purple and the third, 
white, growing in Crete near the ground, very 
flourishing, and not perishable. All are cooling in 
poultices, good for gouty afflictions and inflammation, 
but they must use them while they are still moist (before 
they dry). Sicacer says that the Phoenician [red] is good 
against snakes, which some have thought to be that little 
root which women use which is also called fucus. 

4-101. POTAMOGEITON, 
POTAMOGEITON ETEROS 


suggested: Potamogeton [Fuchs], Potamogeton rotundifolium 
[Bauhin], P otamogeton natans [Linnaeus] — Devil's Spoons, 
Tench weed. Broad-leaved Pondweed 

P otamogeton has a thick leaf (similar to beet) standing a 
little above the water. It cools and is therapeutic, and 
is good for itches, feeding ulcers, and old ulcers. It is 
called this because it grows in marshes and watery places. 

There is also another potamogeton with leaves the 
same but longer and thinner, the thin little stalks the 
same, full of a reddish seed. Eaten, this is binding, and 
pounded into small pieces with wine and an acetabulum 
[vinegar cruet] taken as a drink, it helps dysentery and 
the abdominal cavity, and stops women's excessive 


651 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


bloody discharges [menstrual flow]. It also grows in 
watery, marshy places. It is also called stachyitis ; the 
Romans call it fatalist, the Egyptians, ethenchis. 

4-102. STRATIOTES O EN TOIS UDASIN 

suggested: Strati otes abides — Water Soldier 
Pistia stratiodes — Water Lettuce, Tropical Duckweed 

S trati Otes which grows in the water is called this 
because it swims on the waters and lives without a 
root. It has a leaf similar to that of sempervivum [4-89 to 
4-91] yet bigger. It is cooling and stops bloody discharges 
from the kidneys. A decoction (taken as a drink and also 
smeared on with vinegar) keeps wounds, erysipela 
[streptococcal skin infection] and oedema uninflammed. 
It is also called river strati otes, the Egyptians call it tibus, 
and the Magi, the blood of a cat. 

4-103. STRATIOTES CHILIOPHULLOS 


suggested: Stratiotes-millefolium [Fuchs], 

M illefolium vulgare album [Bauhin],4di/7/ea millefolium 
[Linnaeus], M illefolium, Stratiotes, Supercilium veneris 
— Yarrow, Milfoil, Nosebleed 

S tratiotes millefolius is a small little shrub twenty 
centimetres long (or more) with leaves similar to the 
feathers of a young bird, and the abnormal growths of the 
leaves are very short and jagged. The leaves are (most 
chiefly) similar in their shortness and roughness to wild 
cumin yet even shorter; and the tuft is thicker than this 
and fuller, for it has small shoots on the top on which are 
the tufts in the shape of dill [3-67]; the flowers are small 
and white. It grows in somewhat rough fields and 
especially around the ways. This herb is excellent for an 
excessive discharge of blood, old and new ulcers, and for 
fistulas [ulcers]. 


652 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



653 



BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



654 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-104. PHLOMOS, PHLOMOS LEUKE 
THELEIA, PHLOMOS LEUKE ARREN, 
PHLOMOS LEUKE MELAINA, 
PHLOMOS AGRIA 

suggested: Verbascum sylvestre,Verbascum nigrum [Fuchs], 
Verbascum nigrum, Verbascum phlomoides [Linnaeus], 

— Black Mullein 

Verbascum candidum foemina [Fuchs], Verbascum lychnitis 
[Linnaeus] — White Mullein 
Verbascum candidum mas [Fuchs],!/ erbascum thapsus 
[Linnaeus], Verbascum densifolium, Thapsus barbatus 
— Great Mullein, Aaron's Rod 

IRRITANT RESIN 

[other usage] Jerusalem Sage — Phlomis fructiosa 
Wickweed — Phlomis floccosa 



P hlomis has a double difference, for one sort is white 
and the other black; and of the white, one is female 
and the other male. The leaves of the female are similar to 
brassica but with many more filaments, broader, and 
white. The white stalk is a foot high or more, somewhat 
rough. The flowers are white or of a faint aker [ochre]; the 
seed black; the root long, with a hard taste, the thickness 
of a finger. It grows in fields. That called the male is 
white-leaved, somewhat long, narrower in the leaves, 
and thinner in the stalk. The black is similar to the white 
in all things, yet it is broader-leaved and darker in the 
leaves. It is also called p/enos; the Romans call it 
verbasculum, and some, foeminalis. 

There is also another sort called wild, with tall stems 
and tree-like, the leaves similar to sage, with sprigs 
around the stems similar to marrubium, and a yellowish 
flower like gold. These phlomides are also two-fold, rough, 
growing near the ground, with round leaves. 

There is a third phlomis, called lychnitis, sometimes 
thryallis, with three or four or more thick fat rough leaves, 
good for candle wicks. Of the two former, the root is 
astringent; as a result the amount of a knucklebone is 
effective (given with wine in a drink) for flowing 
[diarrhoea]. A decoction of it is good for hernia, 
convulsions, bruises, as well as wounds from falls, and 
old coughs; and used as a mouthwash it soothes 
toothache. The golden colour in the flowers dyes the hair. 


655 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


and wherever it is put it attracts woodworm. The leaves 
(boiled in water) are applied for oedema and 
inflammation of the eyes, and with honey (or wine) for 
eating ulcers. With vinegar it heals wounds and helps 
those touched by scorpions. The leaves of the wild kind 
are poultices for burns. They say that the leaves of the 
female sort stored together with figs, keeps them from 
decaying. 


4-105. AITHIOPIS 

SUGGESTED: [Pliny] A ethiopis — Ethiopian Sage 
— Salvia aethiopis 

A ethiopis has leaves similar to verbascum [4-104], very 
rough and thick, in a circle around the bottom of the 
root. The stalk is foursquare, thick and rugged, similar to 
apiastrum [3-118], or arction [4-106], putting out many 
wings. The seed is about the size of ervum [2-129, 2-131] 
with two in one capsule. There are many long thick roots 
from the very bottom, gluey to the taste, but dried they 
become black and hard like horns. It grows abundantly in 
Messenia and Ida. The root of this is called arcturum, and 
it has leaves similar to verbascum, only rougher and 
rounder. The root is tender, sweet and white; and the 
stalk is soft and long, similar to little cumin. The root and 
seed of this (boiled in wine) are held in the mouth to 
lessen toothache; and it is applied with hot cloths for 
burns and chilblains. It is taken as a drink in wine for 
sciatica and painful urination. 

4-106. ARKTION 

SUGGESTED: A rctium minus — Lesser Burdock 

A rctium (which some call arcturum ) has leaves similar 
to verbascum [4-104] but rougher and rounder; the 
tender root is sweet and white; and the soft stalk long like 
little cumin. The root and seed of this (soaked in wine) 
have the strength (held in the mouth) to soothe 
toothache. It is a poultice for burns and chilblains. It is 
also drunk in wine for sciatica and dysuria. 


656 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


After attfcus purpiireus* 73 
Bzatm Qtttnhmu 



657 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



Viola odor at a 
after FAGUET — 1875 


658 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-107. ARKEION 

suggested: Person ati a, Lappa maior, Bar dan a [Fuchs], 

L appa major , A rcium D ioscorides [Bauhin], A rctium majus, 
Arctium tomentosum, Arctium lappa, Lappa tomentosa, 
Arctium bardana — Greater Burdock, Batchelor's Buttons, 
Beggar's Buttons 

see 4-106 


A r cion has leaves similar to those of col ocyn this yet 
bigger, harder, darker and rough, with a whitish 
stalk; sometimes the herb is without one. The root is 
large, white within, but black on the outside. One 
teaspoon of a decoction (taken as a drink with pine 
kernels) helps spitters of blood and corrupt matter, and 
smeared on, it soothes sores from wrenching the joints 
around. The leaves are effective applied to old ulcers. It is 
also called person ata, prosopis, prosopion, or aparine, the 
Romans call it person acea, and some, lappa. 

4-108. PETASITES 

suggested: Petasites hybridus [in Sprague], Petasites officinalis, 
Petasites vulgaris, T ussilago petasites [Linnaeus] — Butterbur, 

Bog Rhubarb 

[other usage] Petasites fragrans — Winter Heliotrope, 
Sweet Coltsfoot 

Petasites al bus — White Butterbur 

P etasites has a little stalk higher than a foot, the 
thickness of the big finger, on which is a large leaf 
similar to a hat lying on it, like a mushroom. It is good 
pounded into small pieces and smeared on for 
malignancies and eating ulcers. 



Petasites officinalis 
after THIEBAULT — 1888 


659 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



4-109. EPIPAKTIS 


suggested: E pipactis grandiflora, Cephalenthera en si folia 
— Epipactis, Helleborine 

E pipactis helleborine, Epipactis lati folia — Broad Helleborine 

E pipactis is a small little shrub with very small little 
leaves. It is taken as a drink against poisons 
[antidote], and for disorders in the liver. It is also called 
elleborine, or borion. 

4-110. KAPNOS 


suggested: Capnum, PesGalliniceus [Pliny], Fumaria, 
Fumus terrae [Fuchs], Fumaria officinalis [Linnaeus] 
— Fumitory, Fumiterre 


Corydalis is an ancient Greek name for fumitory [Loudon], 


C apnum is a very tender shrubby little herb similar to 
coriander, but the many leaves are paler and the 
colour of ashes everywhere. The flower is purple; the 
juice sharp — quickening the sight, inducing tears — 
from which it received this name. Smeared on with gum, 
it is able to stop hairs pulled from off the eyebrows from 
growing again. The herb (eaten) expels bilious urine. It is 
also called corydalion, coryon, corydalion sylvestre, capnos 
that is among barley, capnites, marmarites, capnogorion, 
chelidonion parvum, peristerion, cantharis, or caliocri ; the 
Romans call it apium, some, fumaria , the Egyptians, cynx, 
and some, tuds. 

4-111. LOTOS EMEROS 

SUGGESTED: Lotus tetragon olobus — Garden Winged Pea 
T etragon olobus palestinus — Four-winged Garden Pea 

L otus sativa grows in gardens. Juiced and mixed with 
honey it dissolves argema [small white ulcer on the 
cornea], nubeculae [speck or small cloud in the eye], white 
spots on the cornea, and things that darken the pupils. It 
is also called tripod ion, or tri folium. 


660 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Jos' Chamneci/Tos. 

<0unt>clr«b. 



661 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



Hound' s-tongue — Cynoglossum officinalis 
after FAGUET — 1888 


662 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-112. LOTOS AGRIOS 


suggested: M elilotus germanica [Fuchs], 

Lotus corniculatus [Linnaeus], Trifolium corniculatum 
— Bird's Foot Trefoil 

L otus sylvestris grows in great abundance in Libya. It 
has a stalk of two feet (or even more) with many 
wings; the leaves are like the three-leaved clover that 
grows in meadows; the seed is similar to fenugreek but a 
great deal smaller, medicine-like in the taste. Rubbed on 
with honey it is warming and gently astringent, cleaning 
away spots on the face and sunburn. Pounded into small 
pieces and a decoction taken as a drink by itself (or else 
with the seed of mallows, with wine, or passu m [raisin 
wine]) helps disorders of the bladder. It is also called 
libyon, or tri folium, and the Romans call it tri folium minus. 



Lotus corniculatus 
after FAGUET — 1880 


4-113. KUTISOS 


suggested: T rifolium-pratense luteum [Fuchs, Brunfels], 

M edicago lupulina [Linnaeus] — Black Medick, Hop Clover, 
Yellow Trefoil [Mabberley] 

[other usage] M edicago arbor ea [Bedevian] 

— Cytisus of Greeks, Tree Medick, Moon Trefoil 
Common Cytisus — Cytisus sessifolius 



C ytisus is a white shrub like rhamnus which sends out 
branches a foot long or more, around which are 
leaves similar to fenugreek or lotus tri folia, but smaller, 
with a bigger backbone; if crushed with the fingers 
smelling like eruca [2-170]; in taste similar to green 
chickpeas. The leaves are cooling, dissolving new 
oedemas, pounded into small pieces and smeared on 
with bread. A decoction of them (taken as a drink) 
induces urine. Some plant it near bee hives to attract the 
bees. It is also called teline, lotus grandis, or tri folium, and 
the Romans call it trifolium majus. 


663 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


4-114. LOTOS AIGUPTIOS 


SUGGESTED: N ymphaed lotus — Egyptian Lotus, White Lotus, 
Sacred Lotus, Water Lily of Egypt 

L otus which grows in Egypt in the water, covering the 
water, has a stalk similar to that of the bean, with a 
little flower — white like the lily — which they say opens 
at the rising of the sun and closes when it sets, and that all 
the head is hidden in the water, and again at the rising of 
the sun it stands above. The head is like the larger poppy, 
in which is seed like millet which they pry out to put into 
their bread making. It has a root like mdlum cydonium 
[1-160] that is also eaten raw or boiled [vegetable]. Boiled, 
it is similar to the yolk of an egg. 

4-115. MURIOPHULLON 

suggested: M yriophyllum spicatum — Water Milfoil 

M yriophyllum has a tender little stalk growing singly 
from one root around which are many smooth 
leaves like marathrum [3-81], from which it is named. The 
stalk is somewhat hollow, with various colours (as it 
were) on purpose artificially polished. It grows in marshy 
places. Smeared on green or dry with vinegar this keeps 
the later sores of ulcers uninflamed. It is also given to 
drink with water and salt for falls. It is also called 
myllophullon , stratiotice, or achillea ; the Romans call it 
millefolium , some, supercilium veneris, and the Gauls, 
beliucandas. 


664 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


Daphne Alexandria, 135 
SSpfflmfraut. 



665 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



Antirrhinum majus 
after FAGUET — 1888 


666 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-116. MURRIS 

suggested: Scandix [Pliny], M yrrhis, Cicutaria [Fuchs], 

M yrrhis sylvestris semi ni bus laevibus [Bauhin], 
Anthriscus sylvestris [in Sprague], Chaerophyiium syivestre 
[Linnaeus] — Wild Chervil, Cow Parsley, Cow Weed 

[other usage] M yrrhis odorata , Scandix odorata, 
Chaerophyiium odoratum — Myrrh, Sweet Cicely, 
British Myrrh, Sweet Fern 

see 2-168 


M yrrhis is similar to hemlock in its stalk and leaves, 
but it has a long root — tender, round, sweet- 
smelling and pleasant to eat. A decoction (taken as a 
drink with wine) helps those bitten by harvest spiders, 
and it purges out the menstrual flow and afterbirth. 
Boiled in liquid (to be sipped) it is given for pulmonary 
consumption. Some say that it is a prophylactic against 
infection (taken as a drink with wine, twice or three times 
a day) in pestilential seasons. It is also called conila, or 
myrrha. 


4-117. MUAGROS 


suggested: M yagrum sativum, Camelina sativa 
— Camelina, Gold Of Pleasure 

M yagros is a brushy kind of herb, two feet tall, with 
pale leaves similar those of rubia [dyer's madder]. 
The fat seed is like a neck or whorl. They use it, scorching 
and bruising it, and rubbing the stems, and using them 
instead of a candle. It seems that the fat from them makes 
sleek and smooth any roughness of the body. It is also 
called meiampyrom. 


667 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


4-118. ONAGRA 


suggested: Onagra [Italian], Epilobium hirsutum 
— Onagrade, Great Willowherb, Apple Pie, 
Codlins and Cream 


see 4-3 


U nagra is a good-sized shrub like a tree, with leaves 
like the almond tree, but broader and like those of 
the lily. The large flowers are like roses. The root is white 
and long, and dried gives off the smell of wine. It grows 
in hilly places. A dilution of the root taken as a drink by 
the wild living creatures is able to make them tame. 
Smeared on, it soothes wild ulcers. It is also called 
oenothera, or onuris. 


4-119. KIRSION 


suggested: Cirsium germanicum, Cirsion [Fuchs], 
Echium lanuginosum primum [Brunfels], A nchusa officinalis 
[Linnaeus] — Bugloss, Common Alkanet, Common Bugloss 

[other usage] Cirsium bulbosam, Cirsium tuberosum, 
Cnicus tuberosus — Tuberous Thistle 


see 4-23 to 4-27, 4-190 



irsium has a tender threesquare stalk two feet high. 


V-^The small leaves emerge from beneath like a rose, 
the corners with soft prickles at distances, and the leaves 
similar to bugloss [4-128, 4-23 to 4-27] — pretty, rough, 
longer, somewhat white and prickly at the ends. The ball 
at the upper end of the stalk is rough, and on it are little 
heads, purple on the top, turning into down. Acreas 
writes that bound on the hurt place, it stops the pains of 
enlarged veins, arteries, or lymphatic vessels. It is also 
called great bugloss, and the Romans call it spina mollis. 


668 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Smilax aspera 
after FAGUET — 1888 


669 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



670 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-120. ASTER ASTIKOS 


SUGGESTED: A Ster atticUS [Fuchs], 

Aster atticus caeuruteus vulgaris [Bauhin], 

Aster amellus [Linnaeus], Aster tripolium, Tripolium, 

T ripolium vulgare — Italian Starwort, Sea Aster, Sea Starwort, 

Tripoly 

see 4-135 


A ster atticus has a woody little stem with a purple 
flower on the top (or a yellowish one) cut all around 
like the little head of anthemis [3-154], and it has small 
leaves similar to a star. The leaves around the stalk are 
somewhat long and rough. Smeared on, it helps an 
inflamed stomach, as well as inflammation of the eyes 
and the thighs, and prolapse of the perineum. A 
decoction of the purple part of the flower (taken as a 
drink with water) helps the synanchic [abscessed throat], 
and epilepsy in children. It is good (applied fresh and 
moist) for inflammation of the thighs. 

Gathered when it is dry (with the left hand of the 
pained party) and hanged about the thigh, it frees him of 
the pain. It grows among rocks and in coarse places. The 
stars [flowers] of this shine in the night, for those who do 
not know it when they see it think it is a spirit, and it is 
found by the keepers of sheep. Crateuas the herbalist 
relates that pounded (green) with old swines' grease it is 
good for one bitten by a mad dog, or for a swollen throat, 
and inhaled, it drives away snakes. It is also called 
aster iscos, aster ion, bubonium, or sows eye, the Romans call 
it inguinaiis, and the Dacians, rathibis. 

4-121. ISOPURON 


suggested: Isopyrum fumaroides [Bedevian] 

— Fumitory-leaved Isopyron 
Isopyrum thalictroides — Meadow Rue-leaved Isopyron 

see 2-170, 2-176 


I sopyron bears a tendril towards the upper leaf. On the 
top of the stalk are thin little heads full of small seeds, 
similar to melanthium [3-93] according to the taste, but the 
leaf tastes like anise [3-65]. A decoction of the seed of this 
(taken as a drink with honey and water) helps disorders 



Isopyrum fumaroides 
after FAGUET — 1888 


671 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


of the chest and coughs, and is good for bloodspitters, 
and liver disorders. Some call it phasiolum because it is 
similar to phasiolus. 


4-122. ION 


suggested: [Pliny] Ion, V iola purpurea, Viola [Fuchs], 

Viola odorata [Linnaeus] — Violet, Sweet Violet 
Viola neglecta — Neglected Violet 

I on has a leaf smaller than cissus [2-210], thinner and 
darker; and little stalks in the midst (from the root) on 
which is a little flower, very sweet, of a purple. It grows in 
shady rough places. It is cooling, so that the leaves 
(applied by themselves or with polenta) help a burning 
stomach, inflammation of the eyes, and prolapse of the 
perineum. A decoction of the purple part of the flower 
(taken as a drink with water) helps the synanchic 
[abscessed throat], and epilepsy of children. It is also 
called dasypodion, priapeion , wild violet, or cybelion ; the 
Romans call it seti all's, some, mu ran' a, or viola purpurea. 


4-123. KAKALIA 


suggested: Cacalia verbasci folia, Inula Candida, 
Senecio thapsoides — Cacalia, Wild Caraway, Tassel Flower 
C acalia alpina — Alpine Cacalia 

According to Sprengel, this is Bupleurum longifolum [Loudon]. 



acalia bears white leaves of a good size with a stalk in 


V-^the middle of them, straight and white, and a flower 
similar to bryony; it grows on hi lls . The root of this 
(steeped in wine like tragacanth and licked or chewed by 
itself) cures coughs and roughness of the throat. The 
grains that come after flowering are pounded into small 
pieces and smeared on with wax ointment to keep the 
face smooth and without wrinkles. It is also called / eon ti ce. 


672 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



673 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 



Prunus laurocerasus 
after FAGUET — 1888 


674 



THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-124. BOUNION 

SUGGESTED: M eum bunius — Coriander-leaved Bawd-money 

B unium sends out a quadrangular stalk of a good 
length and a finger's thickness, and leaves similar to 
smallage [celery — old use] but much thinner, closer to 
those of coriander. The flower is like dill [3-67]; the seed 
has a sweet scent and is smaller than that of hyoscyamus 
[4-69]. It is urinary and warming, draws out the 
afterbirth, and is properly used for the spleen, kidneys 
and bladder. It is used with honey and water — moist, 
dry, or juiced with the roots, stalks and leaves. It is also 
called aton, actine, or anemosphoron, the Magi call it 
par ad aery, the Egyptians, erxoe, the Romans, scop a regia, 
the Africans, zigar, and some, thepso. 

4-125. PSEUDOBOUNION 

suggested: Bunium bulbocastanum, Carum bulbocastanum, 
Siurn bulbocastanum — Arnut, Earth Chestnut, Pig Nut, 
Tuberous Caraway 

see 2-136, 4-124 


P seudobunium is a small shrub, twenty centimetres 
long, found in Crete, with leaves similar to bunium 
[above], and a sharp taste. A decoction made with four 
small branches (taken as a drink with water) is able to 
heal griping, slow and painful urination, and pains of the 
side. Applied lukewarm (with salt and wine) it dissolves 
tumours [possibly goitre]. 

4-126. CHAMAIKISSOS 


suggested: Chamaecissus [Pliny], H edera terrestris [Fuchs], 

H edera terrestris vulgaris [Bauhin], 

G lechoma hederacea [Linnaeus] — Ground Ivy 

C hamaecissus has many leaves like those of cissus only 
longer and thinner, with five or six small branches of 
twenty centimetres, full of leaves from the ground. The 
flowers are similar to leu coion, smaller, and strongly bitter 
to the taste. The root is thin, white and useless. It grows in 


675 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


tilled places. A decoction of the leaves (as much as thirty 
grains taken as a drink in three cupfuls of water for forty 
or fifty days) is good for sciatica. A decoction (taken as a 
drink for six or seven days) cleans away jaundice. It is also 
called chamadeuce, unfruitful ivy, the crown of the earth, 
or sdinitis, while the Romans call it hedera pluviatica. 


4-127. CHAMAIPEUKE 


suggested: C hamaepeuce diacantha — Fishbone Thistle 



hamaepeuce (pounded into small pieces and taken as 


V_^a drink in water) is good for disorders of the loins 
[digestive or procreative]. It is a herb that is all green, with 
little crumpled leaves and branches, and flowers similar 
to roses. 


4-128. BOUGLOSSON 


suggested: Buglossum, Borrago [Fuchs], Buglossa Vera 
[Italian], Buglossum latifolium borrago [Bauhin], 

Borago officinalis [Linnaeus] — Common Borage, Talewort 

[other usage] Buglossum officinale, Anchusa italica, 

A nchusa paniculata — Italian Alkanet, Common Sea Bugloss 


see 4-23 to 4-27, 4-119 


B uglossum grows in plain misty places and is gathered 
in the month July. They say that it is good for the 
chills of acute fevers. For fevers with recurrent 
paroxysms every third day give the bugloss that has three 
stalks to drink, boiling to a third the whole herb with the 
roots and seed. Give that which has four stalks to 
someone who has fevers with recurrent paroxysms every 
fourth day, but these must be boiled with wine. They say 
that it is good to use for abscesses (like verbascum [4-104]). 
It has leaves laying on the ground, both rougher and 
darker (like the tongue of an ox) which, put into wine, is 
thought to be a cause of mirth. The Magi call it genitura 
fdis ; Osthenes calls it tzanuchi, the Egyptians, antuenrin 
besor, the Romans, lingua bovis, some, libanis, and the 
Africans ansanaph. 


676 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



677 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


405 


Cucumer sylvestris 


after FUCHS — 1545 


Cucumer fylueftris* 
Cucumer, 



WA r ^ '/A V^TVz 


\ 


3] 


\ —~7^y ti \V tV 

1 v 

\'c^M -'iv 'A V / 



A 



// >>c —X\ -ij : tt: .. - , , 

C~$aL>iJ rn _ ._ 


XX': 


678 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-129. KUNOGLOSSON 


suggested: Cynoglossum officinarum [Fuchs], 

Lycopsis [Brunfels], Buglossum sylvestretertium [Bauhin] 
Cynoglossum officinalis — Hound's Tongue, Gipsy Flower 

C ynoglosson has leaves similar to the broad-leaved 
plantain, but narrower and smaller, downy, without 
stalks, scattered on the ground. It grows in sandy places. 
The leaves (pounded into small pieces with old swine 
grease) are able to heal persons or animals bitten by dogs, 
as well as the loss of hair [alopecia] and burns. The herb 
(boiled and taken as a drink with wine) soothes the 
bowels. It is also called phytom, caballation, splenion, or 
scolimos; the Romans call it lingua can is, and some, lingua 
can in a. 


4-130. PHUTEUMA 


SUGGESTED: Phyteuma spicatum — Spiked Horned Rampion 
Phyteuma orbiculare — Round-headed Rampion 

P hyteuma has leaves similar to radicula only smaller; 

abundant seed, bored through; and a thin little root 
close to the earth which some consider good for a love 
medicine. 


4-131. LEONTOPODION 


suggested: Leontopodium vulgare — Common Lion's Foot 
Gnaphalium leontopodium — Everlasting, 

Lion's Paw Cudweed 

Leontopodium alpinum — Edelweiss, Live Ever, Lion's Foot 

L eontopodion is a two-finger long little herb with small, 
slender, strong leaves the length of three or four 
fingers — rough, woolier towards the root, and whitish. 
On the tops of the stalks are little heads (as it were) bored 
through, which have black flowers. The seed is hardly 
seen because of the down that wraps it. The root 
underneath is small. They also say that this is prescribed 
for love medicines to be hanged on one, and that it 
dissolves small swellings. It is also called zoonychon, 
aetonychon, cemus, damnamene, idiophyton, phytobasila, 


679 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


crossion, or crossophthoon. The Magi call it sanguis crocodili, 
some, crocomerion, the Egyptians, daphnoenes, the 
Romans, minercium , and some, neumatus, palladium , or 
flammula. 


4-132. IPPOGLOSSON 

SUGGESTED: R USCUS aculeatus — Butcher's Broom 

See 4-147 

H ippog/osson is a little shrub similar to myrtus agrestis 
[myrtle] with thin leaves, and prickly filaments; 
and on the top (as it were) a little tongue by the leaves. 
The filaments seem to be an effective amulet for 
headaches. The root and juice are mixed with warm 
compresses. Some call this antirrhinon, anarrhinon, or 
lychnis sylvestris. 

4-133. ANTIRRINON 
(KUNOKEPHALON) 

suggested: A ntirrhinum asarina — Bastard Asarum 
Antirrhinum cymbaiaria, Linaria cymbaiaria, Cymbalaria muralis 
— Cymbaiaria, Kenilworth Ivy, Ivy-leaved Toadflax 

Antirrhinum orontium — Lesser Snapdragon, Calf's Snout 

see 4-143 

A ntirrhinon is a herb similar to anagallis [2-209] in the 
leaves and stalk, but the flowers are purple, similar 
to leu coion [3-138] only smaller, so it was also called 
sylvestris lychnis. It bears a fruit like the nostrils of a calf, 
carnation-like in appearance. It is said that (used as a 
personal ornament) this opposes poisons, and that 
rubbed on with lily oil or cyprine [nutsedge], it makes one 
beautiful. It is also called anarrhinon, and some have 
called it lychnis agrestis. 


680 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 



Balanites aegyptica 
after FAGUET — 1875 


681 


BOOK FOUR: OTHER HERBS & ROOTS 


Staphisagria* 

25i$munQ, 



682 


THE HERBAL OF DIOSCORIDES THE GREEK 


4-134. KATANANKE 

suggested: Catananchegraeca, Hymenoema graecum, 
Hymenoema tournefortii — Candy Lionsfoot 
Catananchecaerulea — Cupid's Dart, Blue Cupidone, 

Blue Succory 

C atari an ce has one sort with long leaves like those of 
coronopis, a thin root, and six or seven rush-like 
heads in which is seed similar to ervum [2-129, 2-131]. 
Withered, it bends down to the ground and is similar to 
the claws of a dead kite [bird]. The other is the size of a 
little apple; the root is small, about the size of an olive, 
and the leaves similar in shape and colour to the olive, 
but soft, scattered on the earth, and jagged. The small